A new trend for health conscious consumers—which would certainly include thousands of healthcare professionals—is to buy “functional foods”, defined as having health-promoting or disease preventing properties. Natural and organic foods fall into the functional foods category, and some are arguably better than others. Healthy careers are about learning which products live up to the hype, and which are filled with more hot air than nutrition. While these mini-checklists don’t mention specific brands, they do coach Healthy Careers’ registered nurse enthusiasts in the do’s and don’ts of healthful shopping.
Shopping Do’s for Healthcare Professionals Looking to Eat Smart on Travel Nurse Jobs
- Shop the supermarket perimeter. Nutritionists encourage shoppers to focus on the outer sections of the produce, meat and dairy departments; this is where we purportedly get the most value and nutrition per food dollar.
- Consider whether a product meets the regulated definition of USDA Organic or Natural. According to dieticians, plenty of products bear terms like “natural,” yet don’t have to meet a regulated definition to make it onto the shelf. For example, certain products may not have enough of a probiotic, acai super fruit or calcium present to have any effect on your diet. Another example: “multigrain,” can be multiple kinds of refined grains and not the unrefined, unprocessed ones you’re looking for. That’s why sites like Guiding Stars, a smart phone app mentioned in the first blog in this series, come in handy.
- Check into nuval.com. It was developed by an M.D. and team of dieticians, and rates every grocery item at participating stores between 1 and 100; the higher the score, the better the nutrition.
Shopping Don’ts for Health Conscious Registered Nurses and Physical Therapists
- Don’t Buy Into the Idea that Low-fat Means Low-calorie: When products contain the term “low fat”, it causes some people to grow complacent about how much of it they eat. Nutritionists warn that when a food product is “reduced” in fat, it generally means sugar and sodium was put back in.
- Don’t’ Assume 0 Trans Fat is an Invitation to Go Nuts. Because of “rounding rules” imposed by the FDA, food labels round down to 0 when products contain less than 0.5 grams per serving; however, when the typical consumer has 3 or more servings of that product, the fat grams start adding up. The same is true of sugar-free foods.
- Don’t Look at “Nutrition Facts” and assume it applies to you. We all know that nutrition facts are based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, but this is a broad generalization that changes according to your age, gender, and physical activity level as well as by whether you are presently trying to maintain, gain or lose weight. Healthy Careers shares top fitness and healthy lifestyle apps that let you tweak your optimal daily nutrition requirements.
Healthy Careers Know That Nurses and Therapists Prioritize Excellent Health
Of course you do! Finding the best products in a sea of clever and not-always-on-the-level advertising can be a bear—the very reason nutritionists and fitness experts work tirelessly. 2013 promises to be a year of groundbreaking apps and digital services that enable you to learn and seek out exactly what your body needs to function at optimal health. Please check in regularly for lifestyle advice and healthy recipes year round! Healthy careers are yours for the taking!
Footnote: The dos and don’ts list for healthcare professionals was gleaned from an article at Marketwatch.com. Please click the link to read the story in its entirety.