What About…“Other Foods”?

The last couple of weeks I have been giving grocery shopping tips for all four foods groups. This week, I’d like to finish up the “what to look for” with “other foods”. “Other foods” are foods that do not fit into the four food groups, such as condiments, oils, salad dressings, butter, margarine and sweets and treats.

“Other foods” are not important for our nutritional health, however, they can add to foods that are. They can enhance taste, flavor and enjoyment. The trick is to choose your “other foods” choices carefully. Some can add too much fat, salt and sugar to your diet.

Condiments such as ketchup, bbq sauce, cooking sauces and jam/jelly can add sugar to your diet. Look for those items that are lower in sugar and use in the smallest amounts possible that you can still enjoy.

Condiments such as salad dressing, oil, butter and margarine add fat to your diet. Look for lower fat options when possible and use in the smallest amounts possible that you can still enjoy.

Some fats can be healthy for your heart; these are unsaturated fats. Most people are aware of the least healthy fats, saturated and trans fats. Look on the Nutrition Facts Table for items that have higher amounts of unsaturated fats compared to saturated and trans fats.

And then there is the never-ending question: which is better…butter or margarine? My answer: whatever one you like best! Really, they are both fats, no matter how you look at them; and you should use limited amounts of whichever one you choose. Butter contains more saturated fat than some margarines, however, it comes from natural animal sources. Most margarines are made with unsaturated fats, but you need to read the labels to choose the best ones. Look for margarines that are “non-hydrogenated”, which contains more heart-healthy fat.

The last grouping would be sweet and treats. Obviously these items are higher in fat and sugar and have no nutritional benefit to our diet. Add these foods to your diet in the smallest amounts possible that you can still enjoy. However, in my opinion, life is not worth living without some sweetness in it!

Hopefully these tips make your grocery shopping a little easier and a little healthier. Do you have any great shopping tips you’d like to share. If so, email me at [email protected].

If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!