© 2020 by Danielle Zipp, BSc, RHN

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Before Buying Packaged Food - Ask Yourself These 3 Questions


Hi Friends!

We are keeping it simple yet foundational with this week’s blog post. Today will be chatting all about packaged food. I'll be sharing with you my thoughts and some criteria to help you choose healthy packaged food items.

Packaged foods are designed to be incredibly convenient however, they often don’t deliver on the health front. There are tens of thousands of new package food products that hit grocery store shelves every year - this is big business. Unfortunately, packaged foods are designed to make us addicted to them. They are packed full of the addictive Holy Trinity: salt, fat, and sugar - which makes us want to eat more and more and more. Packaged food as a business; it's their job to create a product that will continue to sell. They are more concerned with profits than the health of the consumer.

What's the Purpose?


The first question to ask yourself before you purchase a package food is: “what purpose does this food item serve for me?” Subsequently, do I need to be eating this food item?

What is the food’s function on my plate? Could I replace it with whole food alternative? For example, could I try swapping pasta for spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. For potato chips or tortilla chips could I try using baked plantain slices.

What bigger force is our influencing my decision? Did a commercial on TV or an ad in the newspaper tell me this packaged food was healthy? Did a friend recommend it? Let's think critically here!


Could I Make it Myself?


After you've decided that package food does indeed serve a good, and well intended purpose, next question to ask yourself is could I make this myself? If the answer is YES, the next question that and ask is “is it worth the effort and do I have the time?”

Packaged foods like crackers, granola or even cookies are things that you could make yourself and would probably taste the heck of a lot better coming from your own kitchen. Plus being able to control the quality of the ingredients you use in these foods and taking the time and effort to make yourself will help you to appreciate the food MORE. Consider these foods as a treat (because they are!) instead of just a quick convenient option.


Are the Ingredients up to Snuff?


In last weeks blog post I shared with you all about healthy fats for cooking. Guess what? Those guidelines extend into packages food as well. The unhealthy fats outlined in THIS BLOG POST are ingredients we want to be looking for. Most package Foods contain junk oils like canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil or cotton seed oil. If an ingredients list contains any of these oils don't buy it. Looking for packaged foods with healthy fats will help to eliminate probably 80 to 90% of the products on grocery store shelves.


Next, are there ingredients that you cannot pronounce? Strange preservatives, multiple sugar ingredients, corn products, "natural flavours", or food colours? My recommendation - avoid. Look for packaged foods with simple, easy to understand ingredient lists. The smaller the list, the better (usually).


What Packaged Food Items Do I Purchase?


Mostly single ingredient products like hemp seeds, chia seeds, almond butter, cocoa powder, quinoa, canned tomato products, spices, non-dairy milk, frozen vegetables, and oils.

For special occasions/parties or as a once-in-a-while treat, I will purchase a snack-y type packaged food. However, I always keep food quality at top of mind, using the questions and criteria I mentioned above.

Lovely. There are a few criteria to follow and questions to ask yourself the next time you find yourself in the packaged food aisle. also, you can use these guidelines for doing a "pantry purge" at home. Stay tuned, next week I'll be following up with a deep dive into navigating food labels!


Have a beautiful week, Lovelies. Talk again soon!

-Danielle