You don’t have to go to a specialty store to find fresh, natural foods. Supermarkets are continually increasing the amount of natural food offerings to support the health-conscious shopper, so the next time you are at the grocery store, look for these natural stars on the shelves.
Natural food does not have to be organic, but organic food is natural. There are certain organic fruits and vegetables that help to significantly reduce your pesticide exposure, so you don’t need to go all organic all of the time. Instead, focus on the dirty dozen, or the produce that has been deemed the most contaminated through research and testing by the Environmental Working Group. They include celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach and other leafy greens, potatoes, cherries and carrots.
The dairy aisle
A natural food that may be overlooked at the grocery store is plain yogurt. It is a great choice if you are trying to limit your exposure to artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. Replace the additives with your favorite fruits, jams, honey or even maple syrup. Choosing organic milk, cheese and yogurt is another great way to limit pesticide exposure as well.
The snack aisle
It really pays to read food labels when perusing the snack foods. There are a variety of natural chips available. Of course, choosing almonds, pistachios and cashews are yummy, natural snack choices. If you’re in the mood for popcorn, look below the microwave products and go straight for the bag of bulk kernels. Try popping it at home on the stove for a better tasting snack without any of the artificial flavors.
Meats and deli case
Look for grass-fed beef, free range chicken products, natural lunch meats, hot dogs and sausage the next time you visit your local grocer. Often leaner, they are free from artificial preservatives, and in some cases, the difference in cost can be negligible.
The cereal aisle
As far as grocery aisles go, this one is a popular destination. There are many new all-natural cereals that have become readily available. When choosing a cereal, though, do not mistake natural for low fat or low sugar. Natural ingredients, like oil and sugar, are often used in abundance on seemingly healthy cereals like granola. Opt for rolled oats or brown rice sweetened with fruit or honey for a more natural, back-to-basics breakfast choice.
The wine aisle
Pair your natural food choices with natural wines, as winemakers are beginning to offer and market wines that are produced from low-yielding vineyards and often hand-picked, organically grown grapes. These wines typically have no added sugars, no foreign yeasts, no adjustments for acidity, little to no added sulphite, and no other additives for mouth-feel or color.