Monday Motivation | Reading Food
If you're buying food in the U.S. (or anywhere really) you probably know how hard it is to shop "healthy".
It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!
This week I spoke with the members of the Geek Girl Strong Power Program about buying packaged foods.
Knowing how to read food packaging can change the way you eat. Unfortunately, it is not something commonly taught. If you are not lucky enough to have folks around you who already have this skill, you understandably may not have it yourself.
Since this topic could be an entire course in of itself, today we will go over just 3 tools to get you started:
DO NOT read the front label.
Laws are not kind to consumers in this area. Brands can make claims about health which cannot be fully backed up. Remember that the front label is an advertisement. Marketing companies/departments create them to sell their products (and use awesome characters to do so, like when DC and General Mills recently teamed up) and they're great at finding loop-holes in rules. That's the reason for our next point...
DO read the Nutrition Facts Label.
In order to fully use this skill you will also need to know that and have a basic understanding of nutrients. This area of packaging is the most regulated and if you were to trust anything, it would be this. Their format was recently changed and you may notice they look a bit different these days, to hopefully make them easier to "digest" *wink*.
DO use the 5/20 rule.
Depending on your goals, what you want more or less of may differ, generally though we should be limiting (not eliminating) fat, cholesterol, and sodium. You should be ensuring to get enough of: Fiber, Vitamins, & Minerals. This can get tricky when buying packaged/ready to eat foods!
There are no "good" or "bad" foods.
Though it is hard to get out of the habit of calling food "bad" when you don't feel you should be eating it (or even calling yourself bad), words can be powerful and if we want a better relationship with our food one step could be to rid ourselves of this habit and use our food literacy skills instead!
The next time you're at the grocery store (or even a restaurant that provides Nutrition Facts labels), pick up a few similar foods and compare their Nutritional Facts labels.
Let us know what you find here in the comments and over @GeekGirlStrong!