Over the next few months, you’ll start to notice a new design appearing everywhere you find Guiding Stars. Our new logo and nutrition guidance icons have been updated to tie more directly to nutrition and reinforce our “good,” “better,” or “best” messaging. We wanted to take some time to share our rationale behind the new […]
If you’ve ever shopped “by the stars,” you already know how handy it is. Lots of foods in the store are labeled with their Guiding Stars 1, 2, or 3-star rating. Choosing more 2 and 3-star rated foods allows you to skip the in-depth label reading. You can easily put more nutrition in your cart. But what about putting more nutrition on your plate? There are only so many foods that we eat simply as they are. (Shout-out to baby carrots, my go-to do-nothing veggie side!). This is especially true if we are making an effort to purchase whole or minimally-processed foods. In other words, we often have to cook our food and combine ingredients together in recipes. How do we make sure our meals earn Guiding Stars too? Lucky for us, the Guiding Stars has roughly 1,200 star-earning recipes on the website!
There are few ways we can modify, enhance, and boost a recipe to make it more likely that a developed dish will earn Guiding Stars. As you may know, a food earns one or more stars when it offers vitamins and minerals and is higher in fiber and heart healthy fat (including omega fats), while also being low in added salt, sugar, trans fats, and artificial colors. Making a recipe from ingredients that reflect these attributes means the recipe is more likely to earn Guiding Stars.
Despite the increased interest in sustainability among consumers and growing sales among more sustainable products, there are still major shifts needed in our food system. However, small changes can still make a big impact. Let’s start with a few simple, grocery shopping shifts that can “green” our carts and lessen our collective impact on the environment.
Do you cook regularly for someone who bristles at Brussels sprouts or shudders at spinach? If so, you know how frustrating it can be to get well-rounded meals onto the table. Taking advantage of seasonal or local produce offerings is even harder. It can be enough to cause even the most patient meal planner to want to throw in the towel. But, like I wrote last year when I covered how to handle veggie-shunning kids, you don’t need to resign yourself to never-ending sides of potatoes or corn.
It’s easy to get influenced by the latest trend only to find out later that you’ve been duped by clever marketing that may be only partially true. Fortunately, my supermarket offers Guiding Stars, which highlights foods with good, better, or best nutritional quality to help me cut through the clutter and inform my decisions. Even if a product claims it’s keto-friendly or gluten-free, I know the stars will indicate whether the product has more positives than negatives per calorie. Armed with Pollan’s wisdom and with the stars as a reference, I can shop my local store with fresh eyes.
It’s probably cliché for a dietitian to say this, but vegetables could really use some more love. They provide key nutrients like vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber and most are low in calories. Those are enticing benefits to consumers for any food. And by eating enough vegetables (and fruits) as part of an overall healthy diet we can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. Unfortunately, less than 10% of adults in the U.S. meet the recommended intake of 2 to 3 cups per day.
We know plant-based diets have benefits for sustainability. When followed as part of a balanced diet, carefully chosen plant-based products can also be part of a healthy diet. Some options, however, contain high amounts of saturated fat, sodium, or other negative attributes. Seek Guiding Stars-rated choices. This will ensure your plant-based diet is helping you meet all your health goals.