Sometimes, even when we think we’re eating healthy, we get pulled into making the mistakes that food manufacturers want us to make. While it’s super important to make informed decisions when purchasing groceries, it’s also imperative to remember that the food business is just that - a business. As a result, it’s easy to fall into the traps which get the best of even the healthiest eaters.
In order to help you avoid making these mistakes, we’ve discovered the most common errors that healthy people make when it comes to purchasing their food. Check out the list below to see if you’re making any of these mistakes and, if so, how to avoid it!
1. Processed Vegan Foods
Vegans and vegetarians have it especially hard when it comes to finding all-natural ways to stay healthy and get all of their essential vitamins and minerals. However, as vegan and vegetarian diets gain popularity, food manufacturers have begun creating more and more processed vegan-friendly meals. While these frozen foods can make life seem a lot easier for vegans and vegetarians, they are often filled with genetically modified soy, which can even have added chemicals like hexane, a byproduct of gasoline refining. Therefore, not only can processed vegan foods contain added sugars and salt, but they can actually be harmful to your health. Instead of searching for vegan and vegetarian foods that “look like” meat, stick to foods in their natural state - no reason to trick yourself when you know what you’re eating anyway!
2. Sugary Drinks
“Healthy” drinks (yes, even those you buy from Whole Foods) can sometimes have as much sugar in them as a can of soda! Think about it: sugar is addicting, so the more sugar in a drink, the more likely you are to buy it again. Even if you’ve dedicated yourself to avoiding sugar completely, purchasing drinks from bottled smoothies to flavored waters can greatly hurt your efforts. Luckily, there are tons of alternatives to sugary drinks. For example, infusing water at home with your favorite fruit can ensure that your drink will be free of added sugars. Plus, taking the extra time to make your smoothies at home instead of buying them before work can have great benefits on your health. Here are a few great ways to sweeten your smoothies, without any added sugar!
3. Opting for “Fat Free” Foods
Yes, we’re often told to eat less fat, and so it seems like a no-brainer that we would purchase “fat free” or “reduced-fat” products. However, foods with labels like these often have added chemicals and sugars to make them taste “just as good” as the full-fat versions. Food-manufacturing companies love tricking consumers into purchasing “fat-free” foods because they know that we’re becoming more health-conscious! However, studies show that people who purchase these goods actually gain more weight than those who eat the regular ones. Don’t let the labels on food products trick you - make sure to read between the lines at the grocery store, and opt for whole foods (and lots of healthy fats).
So how do we avoid making general food mistakes? Really, the solution is simple - read the ingredients! When you’re grocery shopping, if a packaged food contains more than 5 ingredients, or any ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t buy it! To be even safer, avoid purchasing all processed foods in general. If it’s packaged, it’s probably not natural, and the more natural, the better.