Want to make smart food choices but are confused by all the health claims, messages, and logos on foods? Use these tips to avoid brain strain while shopping online or in person at the store.
- Read food nutrition labels, even for so-called “healthier” foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot by brand and preparation. When there is more than one choice, compare labels. Choose the item with the lowest amounts of sodium, saturated fat, Trans fat, and added sugars.
- Beware of sneaky ingredients. For example, sodium and added sugars go by many different names, making it harder to tell just how much is in there.
- Choose frozen, canned, or dried produce when fresh isn’t available or practical. It can be just as nutritious as fresh and will last longer. Choose canned fruit packed in water, light syrup, or its own juice. With canned and frozen vegetables, choose the product with the lowest amount of sodium. Heavy syrups and sauces can add unwanted ingredients to your healthy fruits and veggies.
- Choose whole-grain foods. Many products claim to be, but there is a simple way to know for sure. Look for the word “whole-grain” (or “whole” followed by the grain name) as the first item in the ingredients list. In addition, we are talking about more than just bread. Include crackers, cereals, tortillas, pasta, and other grain foods in your whole-grain quest.
- To quickly and easily identify foods that can be part of an overall healthy eating plan. When it’s on the label, you know the product has been certified by the American Heart Association to meet specific science-based nutrition requirements. The Heart-Check is easy to spot and takes some of the guesswork out of comparing Nutrition Facts label information.