"I encourage you to spend some time daily at least for the selection of food and for conscious eating if you have no time to cook fresh food. Recently, more and healthier bread types are offered in supermarkets, as well as healthier ready-to-go products", a healthy food technologist and the founder of the "Health Friendly" organisation notes.
Below we provide four useful tips for those in a hurry, which will help you eat healthier.
- Choose pure food products
If you are looking for food for lunch, Ms Bogušienė advises to choose pure (unprocessed) foods: fresh berries, fruits, fresh vegetables, unsalted nuts without (hickory, cedar, cashew, walnuts, etc.), seeds (sunflowers, pumpkins, etc.), and take drinking water or non-carbonated mineral water for drinking. Dried fruits or nuts and dried fruit bars make an excellent snack; it is advisable to choose products without added sugar and without preservative sulphur dioxide, made only from natural ingredients. This will supplement the body not only with carbohydrates, proteins, fats but also with vitamins and minerals.
- Choose products with a shorter list of ingredients
If you choose processed foods, buy those with a short list of ingredients, and all the ingredients are clear. Even when shopping at the ready-to-go products section or purchasing unpacked products, you can always ask a shop assistant for a description of their composition. According to Ms Bogušienė, a health-friendly food technologist, modern supermarkets offer fresh and high-quality salads, cooked gastronomy products (meat rolls, pies, pates, stews), as well as other ready-made food products, which allows you to safely get a quick and sufficiently balanced lunch.
"We observe changing consumer habits: we see that they are not always able to cook at home, but they still want to eat healthier and have high-quality dishes. In response to this, we first introduced the "Clean Composition" (Švari sudėtis) label on the market, which labels a variety of bakeries, gastronomy and meat products without any additives other than vitamin C - ascorbic acid E300", notes Ilona Radavičienė, a production manager of the retail chain Rimi.
According to Ms Radavičienė, more than two hundred products are labelled by the "Clean composition" label. For example, bread marked with this label contains only flour, grain, water, leaven, salt and other usual ingredients depending on the recipe, and labelled curd-fritters are made of curd (85% of the composition), flour, eggs, oil, adding some salt and sugar too.
For those who are fond of oatmeal cookies as dessert, the nutrition expert Ms Bogušienė advises checking that they are not made of the highest quality wheat flour. While cocoa lovers are encouraged to pay attention to the fact that sugar should not be the first and foremost component of a beverage: cocoa must be listed at the start of the ingredients list, and not at the end of it.
- Avoid preservatives, sweeteners, colourants, flavour and odour enhancers
These are the primary food additives that should not be present in our daily diet. "Do not get tricked by sugar alternatives - sweeteners, and do not think that a zero-sugar or zero-calories carbonated beverage is healthier because it is likely to be the opposite", Ms Bogušienė says.
According to the expert, flavour and odour enhancers are harmful because they "deceit" the sense of measure and we feel constant hunger. Thus, a person eats much more than necessary. You should also choose food without preservatives and synthetic dyes.
According to Ms Radavičienė, the production manager of Rimi, the myth that groceries sold in stores are rich in preservatives and other food additives is not real. She also recommends paying attention to store information and labels: "If the buyer sees the "Clean Composition" label on the product, he can be sure that there is no food additives. We try to ensure that the food bought at the store is as tasty as it is prepared at home and healthier as well", Ms Radavičienė added.
- Choose products with less sugar and rich in fibre
The nutrition specialist Ms Bogušienė also reminds the nutritional value of food is not less important than the composition. For example, when choosing bread, consider whole-grain products with the shortest possible list of ingredients, giving preference to yeast free bread sorts without food additives.
"Also consider the amount of sugar in products. If you buy yoghurt, choose unsweetened Greek yoghurt over other sorts: due to the increased protein content it is thick, so it suits well with curd or berry puree. If you choose sweetened yoghurt, the content of sugar should not excess 10g/100g", the expert advises.
When choosing cooked meat and dairy products, pay attention to the amount of fat they contain; we should consume less saturated fats but not entirely avoid them. For example, one time you can spread thin a layer butter on a piece of whole grain bread, the next time choose avocado, and the third time - add high-quality curd, salad, salted salmon, or tomato.
"The most natural, fewer food-additives containing food is of utmost importance for healthier nutrition", Ms Bogušienė summarised.