lt’s often said that healthful eating takes too much time in planning and shopping and costs too much for the average budget. But don’t believe it. Healthful eating can be accomplished easily and within a budget by following many of the guidelines below.
. Plan menus; then make a list to enable you to recall all necessary healthy grocery items. Recipe preparation goes much faster when you have all necessary ingredients on hand.
. Eat before you shop to avoid impulse buying of nonhealthy foods.
. Use coupons and comparison shop to save money.
. Buy store brands or no frills to economize on healthy foods.
. Larger sizes are usually, but not always, the best buy.
. Read labels to become familiar with the products you buy and eat. The information on labels can help you take advantage of specials by telling you whether the food will fit into your diet.
In reading the ingredient list on food labels, you may come across a number of words that are unfamiliar. Some of these “foreign” words should become familiar to you.
For example, although a number of ingredients do not contain the word “fat” in their names, they are in fact high in fat content, particularly saturated fat. Such ingredient names include:
. hydrogenated shortening
. coconut and coconut oil
. palm oil and palm-kernel oil
These notorious fats are often found in breads and crackers. A label may read “Prepared with 100% vegetable oil,” yet contain coconut, palm or palm-kernel oils which are saturated fats. Nondairy creamers and whipped toppings also contain coconut oil.
Any ingredients that contain the word “sodium” should also be noted. The more mention there is of sodium, the more likely the food should be avoided. Examples of sodium compounds include sodium chloride (salt), monosodium glutamate, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), baking powder, disodium phosphate, sodium alginate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, sodium nitrite, sodium propianate and sodium sulfite.
Many of these sodium compounds are used as preservatives in food items and should be limited in your diet. The order in which ingredients appear is important. Listed by weight, an ingredient that appears at the beginning of the list is the ingredient in greatest quantity. Canned products usually contain high amounts of sodium. Purchase fresh or frozen or the law-salt variety.
Be aware of hidden sodium found in common medications such as antacids and same prescription medications. Ask your doctor or dietitian for advice about a particular food or medication if you are uncertain. If your doctor has prescribed potassium supplements for you, be aware that many salt substitutes and lowsodium products contain potassium chloride in place of sodium. Consult your doctor or dietitian about your recommended potassium intake.
Now that you will be making heart-healthier food choices, the supermarket shelves are brimming with possibilities:
There are a number of new oils that may be of interest to you for their exotic tastes. Examples are walnut oil, almond oil, sesame oil and canola or rapeseed oil. Bear in mind that food companies have responded to the consumer’s need for healthier, lower fat, cholesterol and sodium products. You can find low-sodium versions of such condiments as soy sauce and Worcestershire, and cheeses with reduced fat or salt. These products are sometimes found in dietetic and specialty sections of your grocery store, or they may be found alongside traditional versions.