As you have probably noticed, the majority of my communication these days takes place via Twitter and Facebook. However, this blog has certainly not been shut down or discontinued; case in point — this post!
Given today’s demands for quick-and-at-your-fingertips information, I figured it would be fun to take a Twitter-inspired tour of a supermarket. Below, my 140-characters-or-less recommendations for popular foods.
The space restriction clearly does not allow for all facets to be covered, but it communicates what I believe to be the basics everyone should keep in mind. I compiled this list based on the foods I am most often asked/e-mailed about.
Before hitting the supermarket: Eat something. Prepare yourself with list or tentative weekly menu.
Basic rule: Front of packaging = marketing (ignore!); back of packaging = actual nutrition information (read!).
Baking Aisle: Dried unsweetened shredded coconut = great snack/addition to homemade trail mix!
Beans/Legumes: Top-notch nutrition. Canned? Go low-sodium (or rinse regular under cold running water for 30 secs; this also removes some gas-causing raffinose.
Bread 1: Sprouted grains offer higher amount of minerals. Aim for > 3g fiber & <2 g sugar per slice. Don’t get distracted by # of of grains/seeds.
Bread 2: 100% whole grain w/3 grams fiber offers more nutrition than white flour w/5 grams of fiber from isolated fibers (ie: inulin).
Canned soup: Bean-based best (more fiber & protein). Aim for <700 milligrams sodium in whole can.
Cereal: Whole grain 1st ingredient, <4 grams sugar, >4 grams fiber/serving. No “crunchlets” (artif. flavor + dyes + corn syrup + oil)!
Cheese: Organic whenever possible. Strong flavors (i.e.: parmesan) best; small amounts yield lots of flavor.
Condiments: Prioritize spices (chock-full of flavonoids and antioxidants) over jarred spreads (ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.).
Dairy milk: Organic and grass-fed golden standard. Organic but not grassfed is decent alternative.
Eggs: Here’s the awful truth: humane eggs not sold at supermarkets. For that, get pasture-raised from local farmer or check out info at Animal Welfare Approved.
Frozen aisle: Plain veg, fruit, bean-based burgers (ie: Sunshine Burgers!) great standbys.
Grains: Quinoa & wild rice very easy to cook. Try out! PS: Add splash of canned coconut milk & lime juice to pot when cooking brown rice.
Non-dairy milks: Organic crucial for soymilk. FYI: Plain varieties of most non-dairy milks contain 1.5 teaspoons sugar per serving; choose unsweetened.
Nut/seed butters: Should be one ingredient (ground nut/seed) or two (ground nut/seed + salt). Everything else is unnecessary.
Nuts and seeds: all wonderful; hemp very high in protein, chia very high in fiber. Different nuts/seeds = different healthful properties. Mix & match!
Oatmeal: Go for plain and sweeten yourself with fruit (or just 1 tsp of sweetener of choice). Top w/nuts or seeds for protein & fiber boost.
Oils: Flax, extra virgin olive, and hemp great for salads and raw dips. Virgin olive, peanut, and coconut best for cooking. Avoid corn/cottonseed/soy (too high in omega 6)
Produce 1: #1 priority: colorful variety. Thin/no skin? Choose organic if possible. For best flavor/to support community, buy some local items!
Produce 2: Dark leafy greens a must! Most offer vitamin K & calcium — a 1-2 super-boost for our bones.
Salmon: All Atlantic is farmed. Most canned is wild. Alaskan is only sustainable kind.
Shrimp: Domestic farmed a safer bet; those farmed in Thailand/India exposed to many pesticides, chemicals, and antibiotics.
Tuna: Chunk light lower in mercury than albacore, but if made from skipjack tuna, moderately high. Canned in water best so omega 3s don’t get drained out.
Yogurt 1: Look for “Live & Active Cultures” seal. Greek = more protein, less calcium. Plain best (but Siggi’s has flavors w/little added sugar).
Yogurt 2: If it comes in a tube and is brighter than lipstick, it’s “nogurt”.