How to shop for healthy food on the market?

As the demands for healthy food is increasing thus healthy food option on the market is becoming more ubiquitous as well. In 2017, Forbes wrote that people who view on food related contents is more than 23 billion and search on healthy food content like vegan or gluten free food on the internet is increasing more that 100% (1).

As people are started to search for healthy food and there are many healthy food options on the market, how do consumers make the right choice in buying healthy food? Or is healthy food is more to marketing strategy rather than ‘healthy’ itself ?

 

 

Tips for buying healthy groceries.

 

Buying groceries seems easy until, you put into account your budget, how many heads need to be fed and the need to make healthier food choices for everyone in the household! Even more headache, if any of the members in the house have specific food allergies or certain medical condition that allow only specific food to be eaten. Fret not, here we try to simplify things for you and smoothen your grocery shopping experience!

 

1. Plan ahead (2,3,5).

 

In order to ease your groceries shopping out, you may actually plan ahead your meal of the week, this can as well make sure that you only shop within your budget. Meal planning not only saving your money and time, but it also can ensure you and your family gets healthy and nutritious meal. Below is the example of meal planning for family of two throughout the week.

 

 

You may get this kind of template for weekly meal planner online since it can be exciting, to incorporates your family members favourite dish or trying new recipe using this. Based on this, you get to know what are the things you need to stock at your kitchen and pantry with.

 

2. Looking for healthy food on the market (3,4,5,6,7).

 

Here comes the tricky one! After you have planned your meal of the week, you may divide it according to classes of food, since food in the supermarket or even your local grocery shop (support local, small SME), is usually by category. Food classes can be divided into carbohydrate, protein, fats, fruits, and veggies.

 

Carbohydrates (3,4,5).

 

Always remember to consume food in variation, balance and in moderation, to keep you and your family a healthy balance diet. When it comes to carbohydrate, make sure the source of your carbohydrate comes from variety of source. Example of carbohydrate sources are pasta, rice, bread, noodle, and some vegetables like potatoes. Vary food from these sources throughout the week and choose food from the low glycaemic index and whole-grain product more than the high glycaemic index.

 

Glycemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own. High GI foods are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood sugar level, such as sugary and sugary foods, soft drinks, white bread, potatoes, and white rice. Meanwhile, low GI food is the kind of food that will slowly spike your blood because it is broken down slowly and makes you full longer (promotes satiety). Example of low GI foods are green leafy vegetables, wholegrain food such as oat and brown rice, legumes and many more.

 

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Protein (3,4).

 

Protein can also derive from various food resources, commonly known are chicken, meat, and fish, but there is also other soy-based food that is high with protein content, such as ‘tauhu’ and ‘tempeh’. Not only that ‘tempeh’ (local soy-based food) is high with protein but rich in probiotics as well.

Always choose white meat over red meat, since red meat has high saturated fats which is not good for your heart health, it is ok to consume it but in moderation and not too seldom. Dairy products are important as well in incorporating healthy, balance meal, thus consider including dairy product in your diet as well.

 

Fats (7).

 

There are many types of cooking oil on the market, they are also marketed as the cooking oil which has low cholesterol level. Is it true? This is all marketing strategy, as all of the cooking oil such as sunflower oil, canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, or even the common one which is palm oil is derived from plant thus, plant-based food generally does not contain cholesterol. Cholesterol is only coming from animal -based food.

 

Below is the classification of cooking oil;

 

 

It is suggested to mix your cooking oil in the 1:1 ration, which means 1 part of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

 

Vegetables & Fruits (3,4,5).

 

As for vegetables, it is suggested to consume 3 servings of vegetables per day, thus you can tell that it needs to be the most food items that you bought for the market in order to make sure everyone consume enough vegetables.

 

It is quite troublesome when it comes to vegetables since most of the vegetables have short life span. Make sure 20%-30% of your vegetables coming from green leafy vegetables, since these are insoluble fiber which is good for your digestion and slow down the spike of your blood glucose level, but these are the kind of vegetables that is easily perishable as well. The rest you may add with rhizome types of vegetables such as carrot and radish, and another one us tuber such as potatoes.

 

Tuber kind of vegetables are mostly high in carbohydrate as well, it is still helping the digestion, but it can spike your glucose level. Thus, be careful on the consumption of this kind of vegetables.

 

 

 

 

3. Looking for LOW sodium, LOW sugar, LOW fat (6).

 

Always read food labels especially for condiments, but it is also suggested to use natural herbs as to give flavour to your dish. Garlic, ginger, celery, onion spring, turmeric, chili powder are the kind of herbs that can be used to improve your dish flavour.

 

As for condiments, less sugar, less salt and low fat, does not mean that it has no sugar, fat and salt, but it just means that it is the improve formulation from the previous. Meaning to say as an example if the previous formulation has 30g of salt the current formulation perhaps has only 15g of salt. Thus, do not go and binge using all these low in salt, sugar and condiment, still need to use in moderation but it is still the healthier option for your health!

 

 

In conclusion

 

Though it is very essential to buy healthy food in order to eat healthy food, but cooking method is as well as important. Make sure most of your cooking method is boiling, grilling, and steaming. Taste is something that you can mould if you mould your taste bud into consuming healthy food, as time passed by you will get use to it and eat healthily.

 

 

 

References


  1. Marketing Healthy Food: Strategies to make discovery easier (2017). https://www.forbes.com/sites/matzucker/2017/02/22/marketing-healthy-food/#4e329aa462e8 (Accessed on August 20, 2020).
  2. Kathleen M.Z., 10 Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping (n.d). https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-tips-for-healthy-grocery-shopping#1 (Accessed on August 20, 2020).
  3. Make a Grocery List in a Minute (n.d). https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/grocery-list#1 (Accessed on August 20, 2020).
  4. Food Network. Katie Allen. Smart Shopping Guide for Healthy Meals (n.d). https://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/articles/a-guide-to-smart-supermarket-shopping-from-the-fn-kitchens (Accessed on August 20, 2020).
  5. How to make healthy shopping grocery list (n.d). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthy-grocery-list#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5 (Accessed on August 20, 2020).
  6. Ministry of Health. My Health Portal. NurAidaliana Abas. Lemak dan Kolesterol (2015). http://www.myhealth.gov.my/lemak-dan-kolesterol/ (Accessed on August 20, 2020).
  7. National Health Service (NHS). What is the Glycemic Index (GI) (2018). https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/food-and-diet/what-is-the-glycaemic-index-gi/ (Accessed on August 20, 2020).