Making Healthy Food Choices

Nowadays, store shelves in supermarkets are filled with various types of goods. When searching for a specific product, we have a whole range of options at our disposal. How not to get lost in the maze of colorful packaging and catchy slogans? How do you find a good, balanced healthy product? At the beginning it is worth getting to know some useful information.

Pay attention to the labels

To eat a healthy and balanced food, make the right choices when buying. And this in the era of supermarkets, filled with processed and imported food is not such a simple task. The first step should be to eliminate mindless consumer choice based only on slogans. The basis in this aspect is reading labels.

National regulations oblige producers to provide information on products. They have no right to hide from the consumer any harmful substances that the product may contain. What can we find on the label? First of all, it should contain the name of the product, which must not be misleading. Often, however, when making quick purchases, it’s easy to go wrong, reaching for a product deceptively similar to the original, for example, instead of butter, buy margarine with the addition of butter, looking for real cocoa, find a drink with a cocoa flavor, and chocolate a chocolate-like product.

When looking for balanced healthy food It is worth checking whether we will actually pay for what we need. The label should include a list of ingredients, in descending order of occurrence. So the top listed ingredient in the product is the most. In addition, information on the percentage of individual ingredients should be included. It is worth checking, for example, when choosing fruit yogurt – if the raspberry in the product called “raspberry yogurt” is less than 1% – it is worth considering whether it is worth buying.

The manufacturer is obliged to provide information on all kinds of substances that may cause allergies or intolerances. They must be given clearly and distinctively. The date of minimum durability or use by date should also be mandatory. The first category concerns products with a longer shelf life, such as cereals, canned goods and pasta, and sets the date for which the products will retain their properties, if stored properly. It is marked as “best before …”.

The second one applies to products that break quickly and the shelf life is marked as “Use by …”. It should be remembered that due to their composition, these articles are considered hazardous to health after the expiry date. On some products that require appropriate storage conditions, e.g. low temperatures, we will find relevant information.

Observe them, for example, thawed foods must not be re-frozen. Nutritional information is also important. These are the ingredients necessary to cover the body’s needs. They are expressed in mass per 100 grams of product or per serving. In addition, information on GDA is often presented in accessible graphical form, i.e. the indicated daily intake, intended for an adult and expressed as a percentage. It helps you make choices when planning a balanced diet. Nutrients also include energy values, which are fats, proteins and carbohydrates, expressed in kilojoules (kJ) or kilocalories (kcal).

The less additives the better

Additives are also important for the consumer. These include preservatives, antioxidants, stabilizers, emulsifiers, acidity regulators, dyes, sweeteners, flavor enhancers. As you can see, preservatives are only one type of these substances, and the statement “without preservatives” does not mean that the product is free from other types of artificial ingredients. Additives are added to food for many reasons. They extend the shelf life, inhibit the multiplication of microorganisms, prevent qualitative changes – in taste, texture or color, increase the attractiveness in appearance and availability of the assortment.

In total over 300 additional substances are allowed. They are marked with the symbol “E” and a three or four-digit code. For convenience, you can remember that the next hundreds mean a different type of additions. From E100 to E 199 are dyes, E200 – E299 are preservatives, under E300 – E399 there are antioxidants (antioxidants), while E400 – E499 are thickeners, gelling agents and stabilizers.

After exceeding a hundred, the number 1 is added at the beginning of the code, and so, for example, oxidized starch has the tag E1404. Among them there are completely harmless substances, such as E101, i.e. vitamin B2 or E162 – betanine, which is a dye of red beets. Some may cause allergic reactions, e.g. E102, tartrazine – lemon yellow azo dye or E 127, erythrosine – cherry red dye. Among the sweeteners we can find sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, aspartame, acesulfame and many others. Dyes include Quinoline Yellow, Azorubine, Allura Red, and Cochineal Red.

A list of additional substances with their indications can be found on They can be used only when technological requirements exist, they do not pose a threat to the health of the consumer and do not mislead him. All substances allowed in food production have been approved by experts on the basis of chemical and biological tests.

They set the ADI indicator, which is an acceptable daily intake. They calculate what doses of intake of additional substances will not be harmful to humans. However, when buying food, choose products that contain natural substances, the longer the list on the package, the more artificial ingredients. Although the researchers state that the additives are not carcinogenic, it is better to provide the body with natural, healthy ingredients than artificial chemical compounds.

Classification of foods by processing level

Minimally processed products

These are natural foods. Usually these are fresh products that can be minimally processed, i.e. cut, washed and packaged – but always without adding, modifying or removing any of their ingredients, i.e. without changing theirs feeding matrix. On the label of such products, usually only one component is mentioned, that is, the product itself.

Minimally processed products are:

  • green plants, vegetables and fresh fruit
  • nuts
  • legumes
  • fresh fish and seafood
  • root vegetables
  • 100% whole grain flour or whole grains only
  • eggs
  • unprocessed meat
  • fresh milk
  • herbs, spices and seeds
  • coffee and herbal infusions.

Well processed products

These are products processed industrially or cottage industry in a beneficial and safe way in terms of their health properties. They are obtained by adding or removing certain ingredients or by using certain industrial processes to make them safer, more durable and tastier or to facilitate their consumption.

Such a product is usually packaged and labeled with one to five ingredients, of which there are no significant amounts (i.e. 5-10% or less) of added sugar, purified flour or refined vegetable oil. The processing of such products should not reduce their quality, but leave it unchanged or even increase, and if it would reduce it, it should be minimal.

Examples of well processed products are:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • UHT milk, yogurt and fermented cheeses
  • 100% whole wheat bread
  • dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa) or cocoa powder
  • packaged gazpacho
  • vegetables in jars and cans
  • canned fish
  • Vegetable drinks with no added sugar
  • smoked Iberian ham
  • frozen real food: fruits, vegetables, fish etc.

Super processed products

Super processed products are edible industrial preparations made from substances obtained from other food products, or synthetics, produced using various processing techniques. Eating such products negatively affects our health. They usually consist of five or more ingredients, which include added sugars, highly purified flour, refined vegetable oils, various additives and salt.

These ingredients are processed industrially, which results in very durable, ready-to-eat, attractive, very tasty and highly profitable products, which are bought and consumed more willingly and more often than other food products. Superprocessed are usually very calorie, low in ingredients. easily accessible and promoted by powerful marketing and advertising companies, which leads to changes in our cuisine, culture and social behavior.

They are usually sold by large, international food concerns that exert pressure or lobby to prevent any political regulations that hinder them. Super processed products currently account for almost 80% of food products
sold in supermarkets and generally around us.

Here are examples of super processed products:

  • non-alcoholic drinks with added sugar
  • energy drinks
  • fruit juices in various packaging
  • dairy products with added sugar
  • confectionery
  • breads made of highly purified flour
  • processed meat products
  • ready pizzas
  • biscuits and their derivatives
  • highly processed cereal flakes and bars
  • Pre-cooked dishes, only to be heated or fried
  • crisps and other salty snacks
  • various sweets, candies and ice cream
  • dietetic or slimming products
  • ready sauces
  • processed fish

This new division makes it easier to choose healthy products and distinguish them from unhealthy (super processed) products. Let’s stop looking at food, carefully analyzing its chemical composition, and start perceiving food products more holistically and taking into account their quality.

Fruits, veggies, and also grains are usually reduced in
fat and also have no cholesterol. A lot of are terrific resources
of nutritional fiber, complicated carbohydrates, as well as vitamins.
The American Heart Association advises that you
consume foods that are high in complicated carbohydrates as well as fiber.

Below are some ideas for making healthy and balanced food options:

  • Coconut is high in hydrogenated fat, while olives
    are high in monounsaturated fats and also calories. You
    must make use of these things moderately to prevent obtaining
    a lot of calories from fat
  • When veggie grains are prepared, hydrogenated fat.
    or cholesterol is usually included. Egg
    yolks might be contributed to bread or perhaps pasta.
  • Processed, tinned, or managed veggies might
    Have included salt. With some individuals, as well
    a lot salt (salt) might bring about hypertension.
    There are some food firms that are really
    tinning veggies with much less salt. You can look
    for these on the market location or pick fresh and also
    also icy veggies.
  • Seeds and also nuts have a tendency to be high in calories as well as
    fat, although a bulk of the fat is polyunsaturated
    or monounsaturated. There are some selections,
    macadamie nuts as an example, that are additionally high in
    hydrogenated fat.

Foods that are high in soluble fiber are a wonderful
Option. Instances consist of oat bran,
oat meal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, as well as
also apple pulp.

Whenever you are looking for healthy and balanced food options
constantly ensure you check out the nourishment tag
or info regarding the food. You can after that
establish what the food has as well as just how healthy and balanced
it genuinely is for your body. By taking your time
as well as making your healthy and balanced food selections carefully,
you’ll have a life time to delight in the foods that
will certainly look after you.