Steel-cut oats vs. boxed cereals
Brown rice vs. white rice
Sure, education and reading labels is important, but when all else fails, the following four questions, recommended by the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, will guide you to the foods you need to put in your shopping cart:
1. Are there five ingredients or fewer?
2. Can you pronounce all of the ingredients and are they familiar to you?
3. Would your great-grandmother recognize each of the ingredients?
4. Can I find each of the ingredients in my kitchen?
If you can answer yes to all of these, then you most likely have a whole food in your hands. If not, place it back on the shelf and move on. Here are some tips to make planning and shopping easier:
We can do better if we know better. If you're concerned about the quality of the meals you serve, you are ahead of the game. Now it's about recognizing processed foods and choosing whole foods instead. And relax if your choices aren't always perfect. We all have days when there is more on our plate than we can handle; the trick is to choose wisely more often.
Cindy Boggs, wellness presenter and author, is an ACE-certified instructor/trainer. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to cindys...@aol.com. Look for her award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her website, www.cindysays.com.