Eating packaged food is pretty unavoidable in our world, but you can get savvier about how to read a nutrition label and what is true versus what is marketing.
First off, don’t pay attention to the front of the packaging. Phrases like ‘low sugar,’ ‘natural,’ or ‘whole grain’ don't actually have any universally regulated definition. Food may contain many types of sugars some of which are not present in high enough amounts individually to require them to be listed on the food label. But cumulatively, the combination of many forms of sugar can be very high. Another possible worrisome omission on food labels is trans fat. Did you know that the FDA allows for trans fats to be in food even though the label says zero? As long as it's under the recommended threshold, it can say zero! Some products that may have hidden trans fats include microwave popcorn, potato chips, and bakery products.
Make sure to look at the ingredient list and see what the top three ingredients are. That will make up the most of what you are eating.
When looking at the serving size, be aware that this is usually a much smaller amount than people are used to eating for a single serving.
Take a look at the "added sugars" and try to keep it low. The American Heart Association recommends women & children eat less than 24 grams per day and 40 grams for men.
See the Resource section for more information.
Take some time to go through your pantry. Take a look at the labels and see what foods you have been eating that might have some additives that might be less than ideal. Any surprises? Write down any foods where you might need an upgrade. Did you find any interesting ingredients that were unexpected or have no clue what they are or do?!?
Meal Plan Support
Try cooking some extra chicken breasts with tonight’s dinner. Then they can be eaten throughout the week as an added protein source. Here are some ideas:
Add them to eggs and veggies for a delicious omelet in the morning,
Add them to some rice or salad for a big lunch bowl.
Thinly slice or shred and wrap up in a large kale leaf with some hummus and veggies.
When we take time to color a design, we put thought into the placement of repetition of color to bring something of beauty to life. Mindful coloring and the use of adult coloring books are great ways to connect to the present moment.
The best part about this is that you don't need a lot of tools. Different colored pens, markers, crayons all work. You can also google and find worksheets to print out at home or head online and pick up a great coloring book on your favorite topic.
Gentle asana, known as yoga poses, is a wonderful way to restore the body's range of motion, strengthen muscles, and increase awareness of your breath. 5 minutes is really all you need. Try the link below for the Jivamukti 10, slightly modified and utilized daily by JKB.
Sugar is one of the most overlooked ingredients in processed foods because it can be hidden by so many names.
Here is a small list of the ways sugar can hide in food:
Corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, concentrated fruit juice, hexitol, inversol, isomalt, maltodextrin, malted barley, nectars, pentose, raisin syrup.