In a country where over 60% of the population is obese or overweight, we have experienced an increased concern about the daily diet in the past few years. More and more people are inclined to change their lifestyles and decide to lose weight not only to gain more self-confidence but also to improve their health and to live longer.
Unfortunately, fresh and organic food is not always the cheapest option and, for those who were used to semi-prepared meals or fast food, picking fresh ingredients could prove a difficult task. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to tell if the foods and the ingredients you’re buying are fresh, so here are some easy-to-follow tips.
Check the labels
The first thing you need to do is always check the label of the food you are buying. Look for the expiration date and never choose products that are close to their expiration date unless you are cooking them right away. If you don’t think you’re going to need the product you’re about to buy soon afterward, it would be best to skip it from your grocery list until the next time.
Labels don’t only tell you the exact expiration date of foods but also all the ingredients contained in that food. Look for preservatives and check them online to see how bad they actually are. Some of the food preservatives are carcinogenic or known to trigger allergic reactions so you should stay away from them.
You should look for products with no preservatives as often as you can. These foods are healthier and fresher since they don’t last more than a couple of days or weeks.
Check the smell and the texture
This tip mainly applies to fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds or any other wholesale foods you might be interested in buying. However, keep in mind that greener doesn’t automatically mean fresher but mainly unmellowed.
If you’re going to the farmer’s market or in regular supermarkets and wish to choose fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds, you shouldn’t be ashamed of touching and smelling each item. Anything that looks or smells unfamiliar could be a sign that the product is not fresh enough. Don’t be afraid to spend a few more minutes carefully analyzing the merchandise if you want to make sure you pick the freshest ingredients. For instance, cucumbers, potatoes, onions or peppers should be as firm as possible, while avocados, tomatoes or fruits should be softer.
Don’t be afraid of imperfections
The biggest misconception about food in the American households is that fruits and veggies should look perfectly sized and shaped in order to be fresh and appealing. However, this is mainly the sign of injected and artificial products.
Natural and organic fruits and vegetables come in all sizes and shapes and could have minor bruises or spots on them.