The question people ask me the most:
“WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS FOOD? IS IT HEALTHY?“
Below is my 3 Step System of how I decide if a particular food is going in my grocery cart, or not…
STEP 1: INGREDIENT LIST
The ingredient list is the most important thing on a food package. I know everyone wants to quickly look at the numbers, but numbers mean nothing if you don’t first look to see what ingredients you are actually eating.
I created the acronym C.R.A.P. to help quickly scan for “red flag” ingredients. C.R.A.P. stands for…
C: Chemical additives
R: Refined sugars & flours
A: Artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners
The fewer C.R.A.P. ingredients the better. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy foods with C.R.A.P. in there, but the more of the C.R.A.P. ingredients you see, the more likely it’s a highly processed food and you can likely find a better version.
– Many C.R.A.P. ingredients tend to be those that aren’t typically used in a home kitchen.
– The most common C.R.A.P. ingredients are refined white flour & added sugars.
– The ingredients are printed in a super small font, so bring your reading glasses 🤓 to the store.
– Be sure to stock up on foods that don’t have a nutrition label at all, like fruits & veggies!
STEP 2: SERVING SIZE
Before you start reading all the numbers on a food package, you have to start with the serving size. That’s because all the numbers are based on that specific serving size.
It doesn’t mean you have to eat that set amount, but it does mean that if you likely will eat more, then multiply all the numbers on the label to account for a larger serving size.
STEP 3: THE 5 & 20 RULE
This is such a helpful rule, it’s surprising more people don’t know about it!
The label has %‘s listed for most nutrients. When you see a nutrient listed as 5% that means it’s LOW in that nutrient, 20% means it’s HIGH in that nutrient, and between 5 to 20% is MEDIUM.
Some nutrients you want HIGH like fiber. Some nutrients you want LOW like sodium and added sugar.
PS: Protein typically will not have a %, so you can look at the grams of protein to see how that food may help you get to ~30g protein per meal and ~10g protein per snack.
FINAL FACTOR: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EAT?
Another factor in choosing what foods you decide to buy is asking yourself the question: “What do I WANT to eat?“
Not everything you eat has to be the perfect superfood. I have products in my house with C.R.A.P. ingredients. And that’s because I made the decision that I WANT to eat that particular food.
And likely if it’s a food with C.R.A.P. ingredients, I’m rounding it out with other nutrient-rich foods at that meal or somewhere during the day. Balance baby!
All foods fit, and sure some fit better than others, but if you obsess & restrict favorite foods, it will steal your joy and it will backfire.
CARE GREATLY about what you eat, without obsessing about it. xx