In this economy, it’s even harder to eat healthy. Food prices are going up and our dollars are being stretched to their maximum. For many of us, organic, fresh foods don’t always fit in our budgets and pre-packaged foods are simply more affordable.
But before you purchase anything pre-packaged, please do this: Look at your food labels. If you identify any of the ingredients listed in this post, find something else to eat. It may mean spending more time at your local grocery store, but in the long run your body will thank you.
Where to Look on Nutrition Labels
First, you need to know where to look on the label for these harmful artificial chemicals and fake fats. Below is an example of a food label. In most cases, the top part of the label contains the general nutritional information. Start here so you know the basic breakdown of the food you’re about to purchase and ultimately eat.
The five areas to look for are serving size; calories from fat; macronutrient information (fat, protein and carbohydrates); micronutrient information (vitamins and minerals); and then the daily total calories you should eat from fat, protein and carbohydrates. Notice that in addition to all of the calorie information, you also need to look at the laundry list of ingredients that follows it.
Next, following the general nutritional information, are the ingredients. This is what you need to look at before you buy anything you plan on eating. This is where harmful ingredients can be identified.
Harmful Food Ingredients to Avoid
Now let’s get down to business. Avoid the following harmful ingredients as much as possible. It’s not easy, but fortunately more and more companies are manufacturing processed and pre-packaged foods without them.
Please note that this list is NOT exhaustive. These are just the ingredients that we know for sure are harmful to your health. For a more complete listing of harmful ingredients, you can visit the Whole Foods market website.
- Artificial colors
- Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin
- Acesulfame-K (acesulfame potassium)
- Ammonium chloride
- BHA and BHT (butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene)
- Brominated vegetable oil
- Calcium saccharin
- Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate
- Ethylene oxide
- High fructose corn syrup
- Hydrogenated fats
- Methyl silicon
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Partially hydrogenated oil
- Potassium benzoate
- Sodium sulfite
- Sulfites (sulfur dioxide)
- TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone)
- Tetrasodium EDTA
The best thing to do is write out this list or print out the post and carry it with you when shopping. Does this sound like too much work? It may be, but it’s probably worth it.
Below is a list of companies that generally offer healthy pre-packaged foods. However, don’t buy their products blindly. We still suggest checking their labels for harmful ingredients. You just never know.
Healthy Pre-Packaged Foods
Support these labels. They’re producing healthier food choices for you and your family. Yes, the cost maybe a little higher, but your health is worth it, isn’t it?
- Fantastic Foods
- Hain-Celestial Group
- Morningstar Farms
- Simply Fit
- Whole Foods Market Brand