Consumers today have many choices when it comes to food, especially at the grocery store. With numerous items and brand names, how does one go about choosing foods that are enjoyable, affordable, and most importantly, those that provide proper nutrition?
Before you head out to the market, take time to make a list. It will save you time and money.
– What to eat this week. List out meal ideas for the week, keeping in mind which days you’ll have time to cook and which days you’ll be pressed for time to put dinner on the table. When time is short, opt for vegetable salads or boil or steam green, leafy or other vegetables and ready-to-eat fortified foodstuffs containing low fat, cholesterol, and sodium or salt.
– Organize the list. As you create your shopping list, check your menu options against the Food Guide Pyramid developed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute – Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) to ensure you’ve remembered everything from rice, breads and cereals to fats and oils, meat, fish and poultry, milk and other dairy products to vegetables and fruits. This will help ensure that you are purchasing a variety of foods that provide all your nutrient needs.
– Don’t forget snacks! Everyone enjoys a little boost between meals, so choose nutritious, great tasting snack foods such as low-fat nuts, popcorn and fruits.
– Avoid going to the market or grocery when you are hungry. Leave the decisions with your head, not your stomach. It’s easier to stick to the list if you are not hungry, so make sure to eat something before you go shopping.
– Save money. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season because these are cheaper. In the grocery store, look for foodstuffs that are on sale.
– The labels. Read food labels. You can compare nutrients and ingredients between similar foodstuffs. Determine which nutrients the food contributes to your total diet.
– The tricks in going to the grocery store: Knowing how to shop and what to look for in each section of the store helps you save your time.
Farm Products. Since fresh agricultural products (like green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, fruits like bananas, papaya, mango, pineapple) which contribute vitamins and minerals don’t last very long, buy only the amount you can eat for a few days. Roots and tubers such as kamote, potatoes and gabi can be bought in bulk for a one to two – week supply. These are important sources of energy, fiber and vitmins.
Meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dried beans and nuts. Get your protein! These foods are sources of high-quality protein. Buy meat, fish, and chicken, especially when they are on sale.
Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products, small fish like dilis. Including these in your diet is an easy way to get your recommended intake of calcium to prevent osteoporosis.
Frozen. The frozen foods section is a great place for convenient, nutritious food choices for any meal occasion – breakfast, lunch, dinner – and even dessert. Read nutrition labels and choose low fat, cholesterol, and sodium (salt) content of different brands.
Canned foods. Canned fruits and vegetables are also great to have on hand because they are similar and some are fortified, hence, higher in nutrients than their fresh counterparts. Most importantly, they don’t spoil as quickly!