Finding healthy and wholesome food products in the grocery store can be a challenge at times. But when it comes down to it, it’s truly just as simple as reading the ingredients on the label. Now, this may not be easy at first. There are many factors to consider when taking a closer look at labels. We’ve put together a quick guide so the next time you find yourself in a grocery store, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.
Weigh the claims among the other components of the product
With more health conscious shoppers on the market today, food companies will try to use certain buzzwords on their packaging to entice consumers. Many products claim to be “multi grain,” and “low fat.” Other claims you’ll often find in aisles of the grocery store are “made with real vegetables” and “now with only x grams of sugar,” to name a few. But it’s important to look at the claims in conjunction with the ingredients, nutrition facts, and serving sizes to understand what those claims mean for your body. For instance, a product may have vegetables included on the ingredients list, but it may be a small amount meant for coloring or flavoring as opposed to adding nutrients. In addition, serving sizes may be misleading (we’re looking at you, bottle of fruit juice with 30g of sugar and TWO servings!). Katlin Smith, Founder & CEO of Simple Mills, has much more to say on the subject of claims. With the right amount of research and practice, you can become a pro at reading ingredient labels.
The less ingredients, the better (if you recognize them, that is)
Whenever we create new products, we strive to create them with as few (recognizable!) ingredients as we can. This is a sign that the food you are eating is simple, without added dyes, preservatives, or harmful ingredients. It also makes it easier to read the ingredient label to identify where that ingredient is coming from, as well as what it does for the food.
Avoid ingredients you can’t pronounce
If you can’t pronounce something and you don’t know what it is, would you put it into your body? Yeah, us neither. That’s why we like to keep our ingredients simple and recognizable. Try to avoid ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, nitrates, xanthan gum and other ingredients with scary names. Once you get the hang of this, it will naturally lead you towards healthier food options.
Look for ingredients that work harder for your body
Aside from having simple and whole ingredients, your food products should also contain ingredients that come with nutritional value. Whether the ingredients promote heart health, boost your immune system, or work for your body in any other way, these are the ingredients that we should be seeking out.
Do you have any other helpful tips for reading ingredients labels? Leave a comment below!