Healthy or Not? Inside our pantry

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Part II: July 21, 2016

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – We may think we know what’s best for us and our families, but do we really know which foods and ingredients are healthy?

In a story only on 23 News, we take a look at gluten free, organic, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the misconceptions we may have about them. We follow SwedishAmerican dietician Suzette Rizert through the grocery store as she debunks the myths about those foods. She says the best way to stay healthy when picking out our grocery items is to follow a path.

"Generally, first shop the outside aisles of the grocery store, spend most of your time in the produce section and then the lean protein section, the deli counter, the meat counter and then the dairy,” says Rizert.

Part I: July 20, 2016

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Eating healthy may not always be so straightforward, especially with easily accessible and cheap fast food and a lack of time if you’re raising a family.

“It’s not worth putting bad stuff in your mouth for 30 seconds of gratification.”

Heather Geiger understands what it takes to get healthy. In 2010 she weighed 200 pounds and decided to make a change. She altered what she ate and what food to provide for her kids.

Six years later, she’s lost over 30 pounds, so we invited SwedishAmerican Nutritionist Suzette Ritzert to explore her cabinets to see what grocery store choices we should make and what we should leave at the store.

“One of the very first things I see at eye level, which I love, is blueberries. This is awesome because they’re in a clear container that the kids can just grab for a snack. It’s one of the first things they’d see when they open the refrigerator and you would hopefully be wanting to promote that they choose healthy snacks,” says Ritzert.

Ritzert says fruits and veggies are an obvious buy, but people tend to miss out on the nutrition facts.

“For one, we may not know when a product includes added sugar. The nutrition facts tell us how many grams are in a serving, but companies are not required to tell us how much is natural and how much is put in afterward. Because sometimes if we’re not careful, we can do some damage as early as breakfast.”

“11 grams of sugar, that’s almost half of a female’s total amount of sugar for the day in one of these packets,” says Ritzert.

Another thing, on our labeling is the ingredients. It tells us what’s actually in the product, but it’s not in alphabetical order, it’s actually in the order from highest to least amount inside.

Geiger recognizes that not everything in her pantry is necessarily healthy, but says if you are determined to change, you have to put in everything you’ve got.

“When you’re used to eating the way you eat, to change that, it’s got to be like a lifestyle. It’s got to be in your mind. You can’t just decide to go on a diet,” says Geiger.
Ritzert says other foods many people believe are healthy are granola bars, peanut butter, cereal, and baked potato chips.

Thursday in part II of “Healthy or Not,” we’ll go through the aisles of the grocery store to explore the facts and misconceptions of organic, gluten-free, and genetically modified organisms.

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