Healthy eating starts with great planning. Planning ahead not only benefits your health but also saves your time and money. To get excited about menu planning, get everyone in your family involved in giving suggestions and making decisions.
1. Listing ingredients: Plan menus; then make a list to enable you to recall all necessary food items. Recipe preparation goes much faster when you have all necessary ingredients on hand.
2. Be a Wise Shopper:
- Read food labels: This is important when you shop as you are able to compare the nutrition information and check the Best Before date, of the food before you buy. This action helps you to identify which are higher or lower in certain nutrient and by when you need to use the item
- Nutrition information: Always refer to the column which shows the nutritional information per 100g or 100ml when you make comparisons between products. Look for particular nutrients for comparison between the products like fats (prefer products with higher unsaturated fats like MUFA, PUFA and less of saturated fats ,cholesterol and trans fats), carbohydrates (prefer products with wholegrain cereals like bran/multi-grain/and fibre rich products instead of refined flour), prefer low sodium products and products with lesser sugar content
- Serving size information: Look at the serving size to obtain information on number of servings per package. Some serving sizes suggested by manufacturers are completely impractical and impossible to stick to. For example, a 100g packet of potato chips may have a serving size of 40g with 2.5 serves per bag. If you focus on the suggested serve, the calories may not look too bad but you have to ask yourself: will you really be able to stick with the recommended portion? If not, it’s best to shop around for lower-calorie alternatives or a smaller pack size
- Ingredients: The product's ingredients must be listed in order of quantity, so the major ones come first. When checking a label on bread, for instance, you want to see that the first ingredient is whole wheat, oats, or some other grain. (Note that "whole wheat" means "whole grain," but not all brown-coloured and "multi-grain" breads are made of whole grain.)
- Shelf life of the product: Check the shelf life of the product by checking “use by” and “best before” claims. Most labels on packaged food include a "use-by" or a "best before" date. Foods with a "use by" date must be consumed before the date listed for health and safety reasons. Foods with a "best before" date provide a bit more flexibility. However, it is recommended that you eat foods by the "best before" date to enjoy the best quality possible
3. Eat before shopping: Eat before you shop to prevent the impulse to buy any non-healthy snacks, chips, chocolate bars.
4. Store your produce: Stow away all your shopping in appropriate places once you get home. Frozen and cold food in the freezer or fridge, non perishable items in the pantry. Use airtight and proper containers to store food, to help it last longer.
5. ENJOY shopping: Enjoy food shopping while exploring different foods and learning about their Nutrition Facts. Healthy choices can make a healthy you!