The world is becoming more health conscious every year. Food companies are making  so called health food products, the fast food industry is trying to make healthier menus, and people are making smarter choices when it comes to their food.

This is a wonderful thing and is much needed with obesity continually affecting more and more families. It is still a challenge to eat right with all of the “health food” options and media dictating what we see as healthy. Every day I see advertisements and articles promoting food products that really aren’t the best choice. From high fructose corn syrup to 100-calorie snack packs, people are being bated into poor health choices. Making the weight loss journey continually harder.

The easiest way to avoid all of this and stick to a healthier path would be to eat natural foods that have not been altered by humans. This grocery list would include fresh meats, veggies and fruits, raw nuts, and less altered dairy products. This can be a tough thing to do, since most foods on the shelves have been influenced by humans one way or another.

For that reason I am going to give you three things to pay attention to the next time you go to the grocery so you can make smarter, healthier choices for you and your family:

#1: Food Source

This one can be a little tricky but many stores are getting better at providing this information. If you have access to a health food store you won’t have as much trouble, but even Kroger stores are getting better.

Pay attention to where the food you buy is coming from. This pertains more to meat and animal products than other items. Many food companies are using hormones and feeding processes for their animals that can affect the quality of the meat.

Hormones added to an animal to make it grow bigger can be absorbed into our bodies once we eat the meat, messing with our hormone balances and bodily processes.

Look for more natural meats that were grass-fed and hormone free. The same goes with sea food; try to find more natural sources and not closed water fish. This meat will not only be healthier but will also be much fresher and taste better.

#2: Ingredients

When buying food, pay attention to the ingredients. Many times a food will claim to be healthy because of the calorie amount but in reality those calories are quite unhealthy.

Calories are important, but just as important, is the quality of the food. Generally, the lower the number of ingredients the better the food. If you pick up a 100 calorie snack pack you will see a long list of ingredients whereas with more natural foods like veggies there is only one ingredient.

If you lessen the amount of ingredients in your pantry you will increase the quality.

#3: Sodium

Sodium is one of those things that’s overlooked by many people. It plays a huge part not only in weight loss but also heart health, joint health, and overall wellness. It kills your path to success with water retention and overall decreased mood.

Many foods have added sodium to increase the shelf life. Just about every canned food will have a large amount of sodium, which is why canned food last so long. Start looking at the sodium content of your foods and try to limit your intake to fewer than 1500mg per day. As an example, one can of “low sodium” soup has 900mg of sodium. If that’s “low” then I would hate to see normal!

Lessen your sodium for a couple of weeks and notice how much better you feel.

Start paying more attention to the details at the grocery store. Making the decision to eat healthier and be healthier is good, but it’s hard out there with all of the trickery that goes on with big food companies. Look at the little things and your food choices will start to change.