Better Living Starts with You
● By Family Features
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to living a better life, but most people agree — feeling your best is aligned with making healthier choices. The road to well-being starts with making informed decisions that will help you to shop, cook, eat and feel better.
From career-driven singles to busy moms and dads, making healthy decisions on a daily basis is a challenge for most Americans. In fact, a 2014 study published for Food Marketing Institute by Prevention magazine and Rodale Inc. found that two out of three shoppers agree that what you eat affects wellness, but a hectic lifestyle can disrupt even the healthiest of intentions.
A tool for smarter shopping
With so much noise about food, diet fads, packaging claims and labeling, the information can be hard to sort through. The same study also found that people who wish to make better food choices plan to do so by consuming fewer unhealthy foods, preparing more healthy dishes on their own and eating out less often. One tool that supports this common approach for healthy eating is the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System, which helps savvy shoppers identify and compare foods on their nutritional value, just as one would compare price.
“If you can count to 100, you can use NuVal,” said Mike Nugent, NuVal general manager. “As consumers shop in stores that use the system, they’ll find the score on the shelf tag. Ranked from 1 to 100, foods with higher scores provide more nutrition. These scores allow you to make quick decisions while you shop. If two food products are similarly priced, but one has a higher score, simply choose the one with more nutrition.”
Based on science and endorsed by doctors, these scores were developed by an independent team of nutrition and medical experts. Created to empower consumers to get the most nutritional bang for their buck, the scores also track with the Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines and recommendations from the ChooseMyPlate.gov program.
Beyond helping you shop with a customized food plan, these scores can also help you in the kitchen with easy meal makeovers, power up your fitness regime with proper food choices and easily identify smarter food options that match your lifestyle. It all starts in the store with food choices that fuel your journey towards good nutrition, health and wellness.
With your unique needs in mind, make sure the next shopping experience helps to guide better eating habits, cooking styles and fitness plans for a better you. Visit nuval.com for shopping and nutrition tips or to find food stores that use the scoring system.
Eat well while on-the-go
No matter where you eat — whether it’s in the car, at the office, or caught at the airport — you can make better eating decisions with a little preparation. Keep these tips in mind at your next grocery store visit and you’ll be ready for healthier on-the-go snacking:
- Commuter’s plan. Store healthy, non-perishable snacks in computer bags, purses or cars. Portable possibilities include apples; whole grain crackers with almond butter; and whole-grain cereal with raw nuts and seeds.
- Desk-side dining. Pack high nutrition meals days you know you won’t get away from your desk. Roll a whole-grain pita around vegetables and lean protein meat or poultry; mix chunks of fresh fruit with low- fat yogurt; dunk raw vegetables into non-fat dressing or Greek yogurt. For mid-afternoon snacks, munch on 1 cup of air-popped popcorn; or 1 cup of whole-grain cereal mixed with a tablespoon of raw nuts and seeds for a protein punch.
- Salad bar basics: Visit your local grocery store salad bar and hand craft several different small salads right in store for dinners or take-to-work meals. Avoid mayonnaise-based items and high-fat toppings. Consider high-fiber red, black and white beans as one protein choice.
4 steps to a better you
The NuVal Nutritional Scoring System was developed to help shoppers make more informed decisions each time they shop. Here are the four easy-to-use steps to make more nutritious decisions at the store:
- Find it. Scores are on shelf tags so you can compare price and nutritional value at the same time.
- Score it. The 1 to 100 score guides you to better food choices — higher scores mean better nutrition.
- Compare it. Compare nutrition like price. No more scouring food labels. Use scores to choose between brands or switch to more nutritious products.
- Bag it. Make the best food choices to meet your lifestyle, tastes and budget.
Swap your way through the day
Consider these healthy ideas for meals and snacks to fuel your busy day.
- Breakfast: Ditch the donuts with healthier hot breakfast ideas such as poached, boiled or baked eggs (NuVal 56); whole grain cooked, hot oatmeal (NuVal 93); or a baked apple (NuVal 100) with cinnamon and raw walnuts (NuVal 84).
- Lunch: Forget the fast food and plan ahead with a salad of baby spinach (NuVal 100), one pound of sea scallops (NuVal 67) sauteed in canola oil (NuVal 32), two segmented oranges (NuVal 100) and 1 tablespoon minced shallots (NuVal 100).
- Dinner: Prepare a heart-healthy feast of fish such as king salmon (NuVal 93) or farm-raised coho salmon (NuVal 93) served along- side a baked sweet potato (NuVal 100).
- Snacks: Pack a piece of citrus fruit to reenergize your day. Fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries and papaya all have a NuVal score of 100. For a kid-friendly snack, top strips of celery, cucumbers or carrot sticks (NuVal 100) with a smear of almond butter (NuVal 84) and natural raisins (NuVal 88).
Photos courtesy of Getty Images