What this dietitian never buys from the supermarket

As a dietitian, I’m often asked about the type of foods I buy, cook, and eat. After all, I spend most of my days teaching other people about the foods they should be eating themselves.

People also often comment on foods they think I wouldn’t eat (which I find it quite amusing), but FYI – dietitians are normal people, too! I’m not ashamed to say that yes, I eat birthday cake, yes, I eat chocolate and yes, hot chips are damn delicious.

Something that I am always trying to teach my clients, however, is that those foods are not everyday foods – rather, they’re occasional treats that can add to life’s enjoyment. You certainly wouldn’t find those types of foods in a dietitian’s shopping trolley on the reg.

Along with the obvious treat foods, here are five other foods you might be surprised don’t make it to my shopping basket very often (if at all!):

1. Packaged snack foods

But they’re in the health food aisle, right?

Yes, some packaged snack foods are quite healthy – think roasted chickpeas or a quality muesli bar. But nine times out of ten, I’d bet my bottom dollar that if I’m considering reaching for a packaged snack (think a fancy bar or packet of veggie chips), I probably haven’t met my daily targets for some of the core food groups.

Instead, I always make sure I stock my trolley with fruit and yoghurt for healthy snacking on the run. These core foods help me to reach my two serves of fruit and my calcium quota for the day, rather than add nutrient-poor calories.

2. White bread

Bread is not the devil, but it’s important to choose the right type (at least most of the time).

Instead of a white loaf, I always opt for a wholemeal variety – and better yet, one with visible grains and seeds. In comparison to its white counterpart, wholegrains offer an abundance of nutrition, including fibre and a range of micronutrients.

So, save the fluffy white bread for a weekend treat and keep a wholegrain option at home as your go-to.

3. Processed meats

Think ham, bacon and salami. These are certainly foods you won’t find in my usual shopping haul.

You see, processed meats are notorious for their high sodium content and tend to contain a lot of saturated fat – both things we want to limit with heart health in mind. There’s also evidence linking processed meat consumption with increased risk of bowel cancer, so I choose to avoid these foods most of the time.

4. Energy drinks

Along with soft drink and cordials, energy drinks deliver a decent whack of energy thanks to their high added sugar content and offer little in terms of micronutrients.

If you’re looking for an energy hit, please understand that you can certainly get all of the energy you need from food! So, I choose to fill my shopping basket with nutritious real food options (think wholegrains, protein, low fat dairy and fresh produce) to leave me feeling energetic and ready to take on the day – no energy drinks necessary.

5. ‘Superfoods’

Yep, you read that right – I don’t buy exotic ingredients, powders or potions.

Think acai, maca, matcha… or even coconut oil and manuka honey. Clever marketing tricks lead you to believe that these products are a magic bullet, but rest assured, that’s definitely not the case. So, don’t waste your money on them – I don’t!

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can follow her @honest_nutrition.

For more nutrition tips, this is Scott Gooding 5-day keto-friendly meal-prep plan. Plus, these are the 7 store-bought products that will help relieve your bloating.

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