As I was lying in bed awake at 4:30 this AM, it dawned on me that I needed to grocery shop tonight. I imagined that most people would assume that a dietitian's trip to the grocery store would be lengthy and torturous due to the excessive label reading and scrutinizing of products. Not so. I realized that I may read labels less than the average health-conscious shopper. How do I do it? Mainly by buying things that don't have a label or that have a very short ingredient list.
It's rare to find a collection of pre-made foods in my grocery cart. I tend to buy mostly whole foods. No label reading is necessary if I'm buying fresh produce, whole grains/flours, plain meats, beans, nuts/seeds, and dairy. Now, granted I check the animal products for hormones, antibiotics, etc… but there is a big difference between buying plain milk and sorting through the ingredient list in a container of flavored yogurt.
Sure, from time to time I'll spend a few extra minutes picking up boxes of veggie burgers, looking for one made with organic soy, and then eventually leave with no veggie burgers, but for the most part, shopping doesn't require a ton of time for me. I guess it's one of the many joys of eating more whole foods and making more from scratch. I get to spend more time cooking (which I love) and less time reading ingredients lists. Focusing on using mainly whole foods is a big part of our Food As Medicine approach at Green Mountain at Fox Run. Therefore our lucky chefs get to create all of our recipes from scratch, thank goodness they are great at it!
Which food labels stump you the most? Do you find that there are certain food groups that require you to do more label checking than others?