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PARVATHY R. KRISHNAN
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NUTRITION Healthy diet begins with intelligent grocery shopping

WHAT’S IN THE SHOPPING CART?Read food labels carefully for fat and sugar content
WHAT’S IN THE SHOPPING CART?Read food labels carefully for fat and sugar content

It all starts with grocery shopping. So if you are on a diet to control hypertension or diabetes or aim to keep a check on your weight, then here are some tips on how to shop healthy.

Don’t shop on an empty stomach: If you are shopping for food items at any of the big supermarkets, then going with a hungry tummy is a sure way of giving into temptation for unhealthy foods.

Hunger can easily draw you to ice-creams and frozen or processed snacks that are on display, and you may end up buying foods you just don’t require.

Don’t hurry, take your time — read labels: If you are buying canned or packet foods, especially cereals, breads and biscuits, then read the label for ingredients. Remember that the ingredients are given in the order of prominence in the foodstuff.

So if you are looking at a biscuit claiming to be of oats and therefore healthy, but find that oats comes after wheat flour and vegetable fat, then the content of oats in the product is not enough to justify buying.

Look for fat content in foods that claim to be sugar free. If fat is mentioned as one of the first three ingredients, you may be getting more calories from fat, nullifying the effect of having no sugar.

Check to see if the type of oil is specified and not just vegetable fat, if salt and sugar are latter items on the list of ingredients, etc, depending on your health requirement. Also check calories per serving which will help you decide how many portions to eat. Compare brands by reading their labels and choose the healthier ones.

Follow the food pyramid: Make a list of things to be bought and stick to it. Your list should follow the food pyramid that allows more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meat and less sweets and fried foods.

Choose the supermarket that gives you a wider variety of fruits, vegetables and wholesome foods. If you are off snacks and such, simply ignore the aisles that display them.

PARVATHY R. KRISHNAN

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