Healthy Eating Guide: Reading Labels
Many fruits, vegetables, and grains are low in fat and have little or no cholesterol. Many contain lots of good vitamins. Yet it is important to develop the habit of reading labels, and participating in your own good health measures.
Also, focus on the type of oil your food is prepared with. The American Heart Association recommends that you focus on foods that are high in complex carbs and fiber.
Below are some ideas for making healthy food choices:
– Coconut is high in saturated fat, while olives are high in monounsaturated fats and calories. You should use these items sparingly to avoid getting too many calories from fat.
– When vegetable grains are cooked, saturated fat or cholesterol is often added. For example, egg yolks may be added to bread or even pasta.
– Watch out for canned or processed vegetables, as they may also contain added sodium. With some people, too much sodium (salt) may lead to high blood pressure. There are some food companies that are actually canning vegetables with less salt. Keep an eye peeled for these in the market, or choose fresh and even frozen vegetables.
– Nuts and seeds are a good food source – just be sure to use wisely (don’t eat too many). Meaning, eat nuts with monounsaturated fats when possible – i.e., almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews.
Try to stick more to foods with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, and you’ll do well.
Also, any food containing a lot of fiber is good. Foods like rice (I like brown rice!), oatmeal, barley, oatmeal bran, peas, and even apple pulp (think applesauce, e.g.).
Be Alert For Trans fats
Another thing to help you is being a “detective” in the grocery store. Make it your mission. You can do the following:
- If eating out, ask your waiter or waitress what sort of oil the food is going to be prepared in. If the answer is partially hydrogenated oil, leave the restaurant or request your food be prepared with olive oil
- Try not to eat fast food, period.
- In selecting margarine, stick to the “soft tub” version, & check the label (you want 0 grams of trans fat ).
- In the grocery, read all labels and be on the lookout for “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients. Even when the label claims “0 grams trans fat” if the label lists partially hydrogenated oil, this is suspect !