There are so many aspects to eating well and so many points of view about what makes up a ‘healthy option’ that it is very easy to become confused.
The number one thing you need to know is how to read a food label because the food manufacturers are not on your side!
Or better yet, buy food that doesn’t have packaging.
Food manufacturers are not on your side
Sure, there will be some smaller, ethical food manufacturers who are working to create a product that will provide optimal nutrition and save you time.
In most cases, though, the food manufacturers are much bigger and are working for profits to their shareholders and not working towards giving you the best possible product.
Occasionally there will be a great product and shareholder profits in which case everyone wins.
2 different goals
The reality is that both parties are pursuing two different outcomes.
The food manufacturer is looking to make the biggest possible profit and you are looking to eat the best possible quality food.
When you take a look at these outcomes it becomes pretty obvious that you are both working from opposing sides.
What the goals of the food manufacturers are.
Food manufacturers will tell you that they have your best interests at heart and it is even possible that the company started out that way.
As a company grows, though, more people become involved and investors buy in and there can be a shift in the business ethos.
The company now has a commitment to provide returns to its investors and investors have a tendency to expect increasing returns so in order to do that the business needs to increase profits.
There are two main ways for a business to increase profits:
- They can increase productivity
- They can cut costs.
Both of these may mean a reduction in the quality of the end product.
Let’s have a hypothetical a look at the ‘increasing productivity’ option.
To increase output, a business needs to have more ‘ingredients’. So, in the case of our food manufacturer, they may already be buying the best quality ingredient on the market and in order to be able to buy more of an ingredient they may need to drop their standards which will then result in a lower quality product.
And a quick look at the ‘cutting costs’ option.
One easy way for a manufacturer to cut costs is to decrease waste and in the case of a food manufacturer this could mean they want to increase the shelf life of a product.
To increase shelf life a manufacturer may choose to add some kind of preservative, and while food additives are governed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) there is not a lot, if any, research about how these additives interact with each other and whether they accumulate, from different sources, in your body.
These additives could also be reducing the quality of the end product that you eat.
What your goal is.
Your goal is to eat good quality food that tastes good and is nutritious that will result in you having the energy and vitality to do the things you love.
So, what you need is a quick way to choose the best food so you can create a wholesome, nutritious meal.
Food without labels
Processed and ultra-processed food may be easy to chose in the supermarket but the reality is that the more processed a food is, the more it is likely to affect your health in the longer term.
Also, all that processing is expensive, and in most cases, the more processed a food is, the less nutritious it is.
So, eat things like, fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, nuts which have no, or very small amounts of, packaging.
You can also give yourself a pat on the back for reducing your waste by doing this. And an extra one, if you compost your food scraps.
Choose your food from the outside of the supermarket.
This is where all the fruit and vegetables, meat dairy and other food staples are.
By simply doing a loop around the outside aisles of your local supermarket you can avoid a huge number of processed foods and the temptation they might cause.
Preparing your own food
My advice is to start from first principles or ‘scratch’ as my Mum says.
This will save you time and money despite what the advertising says.
Sure, the first time you need to buy a bottle of olive oil it is going to be expensive compared to buying a prepared salad dressing, but, once you have that bottle in the cupboard, you will use it for a lot of other things and can make you own salad dressing for a fraction of the cost.
It is also very easy to prepare a salad from the various salad ingredients you choose to use and will cost you much less than buying a pre-prepared salad.
Sliced up fruit can be a very simple dessert, if you are a ‘dessert’ kind of person.
Or, let’s take a cake mix as an example.
If you buy a cake mix in a box at the supermarket it will already have any of the dry ingredients in the box (and usually a number of preservatives as well) but you will still need to add the milk, eggs and butter.
Given that the other ingredients you require are flour, bicarbonate of soda, and maybe cocoa if you are making a chocolate cake, you are not saving much in the way of time and it costs you more than buying the individual ingredients.
The time that it takes to mix the cake and then bake it is the same whether you started with a mix or the individual ingredients.
You also have a cake without all the preservatives and, I don’t know about you but, I can always tell when a cake is ‘home-made’.
Take the initiative!
So, now you have some tips about how to eat healthy.
Remember, avoid food with labels if you can and be a little, or very, sceptical about the advertising of prepared foods.
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For some healthy breakfast options download A Better Breakfast Builds a Better Body
Or if you are ready to transform your eating find out more about Healthy Eating Is Easy!
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