It’s hard to shop smart when you’re trying to save money and make healthy choices, but – with a little extra effort – it’s possible. What you need is a game plan, so you know when you’re actually getting the most for your money. That way, you won’t buy things that just sound like they should be good for you.
Here are a few key points to consider when browsing online grocers like Amazon (Fresh FTW!) and Brandless:
What You Want To Consider
- Non-GMO: Consumer Reports did a survey that revealed more than 70 percent of Americans don’t want GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, in their food. While GMOs are almost everywhere in our food supply, you can skirt the problem by shopping at places like Whole Foods, which labels all its foods as “GMO” or “non-GMO.”
- Organic: Is it really worth it? It turns out that experts are on the fence, specifically naming foods that are beneficial to buy organic, and others that simply aren’t worth it at all. The basics: organic foods must be grown without any synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms. Organic meat has to be raised in a natural environment, fed organic feed, and not receive hormones or antibiotics. The bottom line? Because conventional produce can have up to five times the pesticide residue, it’s worth considering.
- Cruelty-Free: In our opinion, “cruelty-free” is always worth it. These labels help us identify exactly when companies have endeavored to forgo animal experimentation and embrace other options.
What Isn’t Really Healthy
There are some labels that are purely for show, and they’ve even been challenged by courts to keep people from being deceived. Once you know, however, you will never be tricked again. Here’s the list:
- “All Natural”: Things marked as “All Natural” can be labeled somewhat arbitrarily. Because the term is not defined by the Food and Drug Administration, it leaves a lot open to interpretation. Yes, added colors, artificial substances, and artificial flavors are a no-go, but what isn’t prevented is injecting saline solution into the chicken! Even high fructose corn syrup has been argued to be “all natural,” because it is derived from corn. However, high fructose corn syrup has been questioned by food scientists in their relationship with other metabolic conditions. Keep it in mind when you see an “all natural” label next.
- “Made with Whole Grain” or “Multigrain”: While labels like “whole grain” and “100% whole wheat” fit the bill, they can be deceiving. Even bread that looks darker can have caramel color added to it to make it appear “healthier,” because some of us equate darker bread with healthier bread in general.
- “Immunity Boosters” and “Immune System Support”: These labels are as murky as they may seem at first glance. There’s certainly a feeling of a promise of good health with something labeled as such, but they can be misinterpreted or misleading.