The ABCs of Smart Food Choices

New backpack? Check! New pens and pencils? Done! Spiral-bound notebook with (insert your child’s favorite cartoon/animal/sports team here) on the cover? Got the last one! Now it’s time to get to the head of the class before school even starts by learning more about making smart food choices.

Top tips for healthier choices

With school bells in your family’s not-so-distant future comes an opportunity to evaluate the lunches you pack for the kids (and yourself) and the meals and snacks at home too. If you’re looking for the best and best-tasting foods, here are 10 tips for healthier food choices. Consider this your cheat sheet!

  1. Choose meat, poultry and dairy products from animals not given added hormones or antibiotics. Read the label carefully, or choose organics.
  2. Fish around for safer, more sustainable seafood. Know the source. If you’re concerned about mercury content inform yourself by visiting our website on Methlymercury in Seafood. When choosing farm-raised, look for fish never given added hormones or antibiotics.
  3. Trade hydrogenated oils for wise portions of foods with better fats, including olives, nuts and nut butters, avocados, seeds, eggs and certain types of fish.
  4. Favor fresh fruits and veggies, particularly organics, and eat a rainbow of colors. When you need a shortcut, choose frozen over canned. Picked and frozen at peak ripeness, the nutrients in frozen goods are locked in— often providing essentially the same health benefits as fresh.
  5. Skip the artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners. Savor the taste of unadulterated real foods.
  6. Lighten up on refined sugar. Satisfy a sweet tooth with fresh or dried fruit.
  7. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup. You may be surprised where you find it, so always check the label.
  8. Go for whole grains. You’ll get more fiber, and in many cases more protein and essential vitamins, compared to highly processed grains.
  9. Say yes to organics whenever you can. You’ll lessen exposure to toxic, persistent pesticides and help the planet, too! Plus, choosing organic is one of the best ways to avoid food from GMO crops because Organic Standards prohibit them. (Read on to learn more about organics.)
  10. Nix the synthetic nitrates and nitrites added to lunchmeats and bacon.

Luckily, these tips are pretty easy to follow because we’ve done the homework for you. With strict Quality Standards that don’t allow foods made with hydrogenated fats and artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners, we’re careful about what we place on our shelves so you can be too!

Fall in love with organics

You’ve likely been encouraged to reach for organics before, but are they really better? With all of the information out there regarding healthy food choices and organics, how do you harvest just what you need to make the best decisions for you and your family? As the first national certified organic grocer in the US, we’re thrilled to partner with PBS KIDS on their Fantastic Organic website. You’ll find tips, recipes, games and information to help you and your kids learn more about organic eating.

Here’s a taste of what we’ve pulled together:

  • Why go organic? People. Wildlife. Air. Soil. Water. From the piece of mind that organic standards prohibit toxic and persistent chemicals, irradiation and genetic modification to the protection of our water resources from chemical and fertilizer runoff, there are plenty of reasons to support organic farming.
  • How do I start? Adding organic foods into your family’s diet can be easy and inexpensive if you know where to start. Some items are widely available at your local grocery store.
  • What about price? Because of increased demand and production, the price of organic foods is increasingly competitive. However, as a result of organic products’ added cost of compliance with organic certification standards, they can cost more than conventional items…sometimes. Tip: From yogurt and cereals to peanut butter and cheese, it’s easy to find hundreds of affordable organics within our 365 Everyday Value® line.

We’d love to hear your plan for making smarter food choices (including eating organics) this school year. Let us know in the comments below.