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Tuesday, April 7,2015

The Biggest Fast Food Restaurant in your Town

By Ashley Dixon  

Forget McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s. The biggest fast food restaurant in your town is the grocery store. There is a huge misconception that food coming from the grocery store is “healthy”.


While some of it is, most of it is fast, convenient, and can lead to poor eating decisions.

The layout of a typical grocery store has the outer perimeter and aisles in the center. Your outer perimeter is going to consist of dairy, meats, bakery and produce. These are going to be the healthiest choices in the store. The exception to this perimeter is the Deli and Bakery. Most foods in the deli are high in salt, fat, and deep fried for quick access.

The center aisles of the grocery store are the boxed and frozen section. The boxed section is where food can live forever. Why, because it’s loaded with preservatives and salt. This area does require minimum cooking, but for the most part it is available to eat as soon as you open the package.

In the frozen food section, there is a mixture.

There are frozen fruits and vegetables, which are the healthier options. But, there are also pizza, snacks, and 3 course meals in the frozen section which contain salt levels through the roof.

Making better decisions in the grocery store is simple. If you want relatively healthy items to eat, stay in the perimeter of the store. You can build a salad for quick lunch meals; pick up some fruits and vegetables to snack on. Some other snack options would be nuts, yogurt, or hummus, which are mostly found in the outer border.

If you must go into the deli section, be cautious. Deli items do not have nutritional facts attached and it’s easy to have an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to these items. With that being said, sliced deli meats are a better quality than prepackaged, but still have broth fillers and salt. The low sodium meats are better, but are overlooked because they are higher price. The hot foods are mostly fried, but there are baked items, vegetables, soup, and sometimes a salad bar. The bakery is similar to the deli. The bakery consists of foods high in carbs, sugar, and trans fats and should be eaten in moderation or none at all.

Avoid the impulse buy at the register. Most of these items are sweet treats that you may regret later. Instead, grab popcorn or healthy dark chocolate with 75% or more cocoa within the center aisles. Being a more informed shopper is the best way to make better food choices.


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