Check the Food Labels

Over the years, I've read a number of books and listened to many podcasts about food. I'll let you do your own research here, but my conclusions have lead me to a list of ingredients that I (try to) stay away from. At the end of this post, you'll find a FREE printable to help you navigate the grocery store. The two credit-card size images will fit in your wallet for quick reference and could be laminated to last longer. 

The first one contains my list of "bad" ingredients. These are the things I desperately try to stay away from. However! (before you go into shock), I will say that we do splurge sometimes (Costco Tuxedo Cake), we still eat out at restaurants (although we are getting pickier), and I still buy Costco's organic tortilla chips (I can't find a good replacement from the vegetable oils!). It's not going to be perfect, but this list alone will eliminate A LOT of the unhealthy packaged food. My main tip here is just EAT FOOD. If it sounds like a chemical or has a number in the name, it was made by man. Search for things made by God, real food from real plants. 

The second printable is the Dirty Dozen list for 2023. I try to buy these produce items organic. Anything with a hard, outer skin (that you're not going to eat) I don't buy organic. Think pineapple, bananas, avocados, onions, etc. 

You may be thinking, "But what about _______?!?". Here's my swap list for getting around the bad ingredients (recipes are hyperlinked): 

Instead of store bought granola and granola bars = DIY granola and  Energy Ball Bites

Instead of soy sauce = coconut aminos

Instead of veggie oils = coconut oil, olive oil and butter. Applesauce as a substitute in baked goods.

Instead of salad dressings = lemon + olive oil drizzle

Instead of cheap bread = look for sprouted grain bread in the freezer bread aisle or make your own!

It also means a lot of cooking from scratch. It's just the way it is. 

Other tips for shopping the grocery stores: 

Stick to local produce or the farmer's market

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. All the packaged food made in a plant are in the middle aisles. The perimeter will keep you focused on mostly fresh items like produce, meat and dairy.

Choose organic and Non-GMO when possible. 

Look at the ingredient labels of EVERYTHING! You'll start learning the ingredients to stay away from and it'll get easier to not crave it once you know what's in it!

Cook from scratch. You don't need Pillsbury to make your bread. Make a double batch of pie dough, it freezes well. Red Lobster biscuit are easy to make (this one is really good). Cornbread comes together quickly (I make a double batch and freeze one for later). You can also make your own broth by just throwing your onion skins, celery ends and carrot peelings into the freezer until you're ready to make stock. Pizza sauce is just tomato sauce + oregano. Once you start looking, you can simplify a lot of what you're buying into a few pantry staples!

Try to buy the most basic form of everything. Buy honey; not "honey and corn syrup".  Look for one ingredient. 

Lastly, here's some of my favorite resources on food.

Deep Nutrition 

EWG Shopper's Lists

Food Babe - Half way down the page you'll see a pink download link for "Ultimate Healthy Grocery Shopping Guide". THIS IS A GREAT RESOURCE. 

Handmade: The Modern Women's Guide to Made-From-Scratch Living by Melissa K. Norris

FREE Grocery Store Printable!

Check the Food Label and Dirty Dozen Printables.pdf