(BPT) - Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate? Azodicarbonamide? Sodium Benzoate? Most people will agree that you shouldn’t need a chemistry degree to read and understand what goes into your favorite foods. A simple glance at the average ingredient label, however, can be a confusing sight. This begs the question: If you can’t pronounce it, should you be eating it?
One of today’s top food trends focuses on efforts to eat clean, which means selecting only foods that are made from simple, wholesome ingredients. If you want to clean up your family’s diet and take a simpler approach with the foods you buy, consider these three tips for eating clean.
1. Read and understand ingredient labels.
Only 35 percent of people always read ingredient lists before buying packaged food, according to a recent Good Food Made Simple survey. Checking the ingredient label is the easiest way to know which food products are clean and which are not, so make it a habit to check the label for every product while shopping, especially when shopping for breakfast foods that oftentimes are heavily processed. Because it’s the most important meal of the day, seek products that use fewer ingredients, all of which you recognize.
What ingredients should be red flags? According to the nutritional experts at Good Food Made Simple, the top ingredients to avoid include: artificial or chemical preservatives or additives (such as sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate and calcium propionate), artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes (such as sucralose/Splenda or aspartame/NutraSweet) and hydrogenated fats or oils (a source of trans fats).
2. Look for positive marketing.
Terms like “premium” and “naturally raised” might sound nice, but in reality, they can be misleading. These types of terms are not regulated, so any food producer can use them loosely. Be aware of fancy packing and meaningless claims so you can make an educated choice instead.
In addition to looking at the ingredient label, it’s smart to pay attention to what is being promoted on the front of packaging. Look for food products that advertise no artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, trans fats or sweeteners. Food makers who choose not to use these types of ingredients will typically take steps to highlight their absence from foods by advertising it on the front of products.
3. Focus on fresh and frozen.
Fresh, whole foods are a great way to eat clean, of course. Produce from a local organic farm is hard to beat. But in our often-busy schedules, eating and preparing fresh foods isn’t always possible. That’s why frozen options are a smart alternative. For example, frozen vegetables and fruits often provide superior flavor as compared to what you’d find in the produce section. That’s because processors typically freeze these foods using IQF technology (individually quick-frozen) that preserves flavor, freshness and nutritional quality.
Frozen entrees and snack products can also be a good solution for busy families. While many frozen foods are stacked with artificial ingredients, there are clean options available at most grocery stores. Good Food Made Simple is a company dedicated to making only clean food with simple ingredients. From egg-white burritos to steel cut oatmeal and protein-laden breakfast bowls, you’ll start your day satisfied from having eaten simple, clean ingredients that get their flavor from nature instead of additives. Learn more at www.GoodFoodMadeSimple.com or www.facebook.com/GoodFoodMadeSimple.