shopping1 – Shop the perimeter of the store
The real food at a grocery store it going to be in the perimeter of the store.  If you are shopping in center aisles then be sure to read labels carefully and look at all of the ingredients on packages to ensure that it is something you want to purchase.  Buy the freshest, purest foods available and organic if possible to avoid unnecessary chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides.  

2 – Can you pronounce the ingredient and do you know what it is?
Often times if you cannot pronounce an ingredient, it probably isn’t safe to eat.  Many chemicals can be listed under a variety of names.  If you have never heard of it, look it up.  Make sure it’s a food and something safe to ingest.  If it’s not something you would add to the item if you were preparing it yourself then it probably isn’t healthy for you.

3 – Can you make the item yourself?
If you prepare items yourself then you can decide exactly what ingredients you are putting in.  It will probably taste better anyway, and it will allow you to use better quality and possibly even some organic ingredients.  You could also see if a local deli or health food store can make an item for you fresh and with less additives or preservatives then a packaged item may have.

4- Can you buy it fresh rather than canned?
Fresh fruits and vegetables and foods that are in season are the healthiest options.  Many markets now carry produce from local farmers and keep seasonal produce well stocked.  If you cannot find the item you need fresh, then frozen is a healthy choice as well. Canned foods have many additives, flavorings or colors/dyes that are unnecessary and can even be detrimental to your health.  Be sure to shop at your local farmers market for the freshest produce of the season!

5- Do you know the source or quality of the food?
Ask questions when grocery shopping, especially with prepared items or deli items.  Find out what ingredients were added, how long ago it was made and even where the ingredient came from so you can determine the nutritional quality.  Some examples of questions to ask include: Are the cows grass-fed or grain-fed?  Is it free-range, and what exactly is a free-range chicken?  What are the practices of the farm?  How long has the flour been on the shelf?  What type of oils were used?  Are there any artificial colors added?

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