Market Basket can be a healthy grab and go if you make the right choices.

Market Basket is minutes from my work and home, and so I frequently find myself there for errands and sometimes a snack or even a meal. Prior to embarking on this trip, I work in my meditation to be at peace with the parking lot as the lot can be overwhelming. I have a rule that I am only allowed to park in one aisle so I don’t lose my car every day. I find the furthest point away from the door so while I stay active, I allow someone else who may actually need a closer spot the opportunity to grab it.

Market Basket has a great section of prepared sandwiches, salads and hot foods. Some of these options are great, and others not so great. They offer so many foods, I couldn’t possibly review them all at one sitting so I’ve picked just a few to discuss here.

There are several grab and go salads that are great options. There is salad dressing available, but those aren’t great. Choose a salad that you can mix together that may not even need dressing. If that’s too hard core, grab some salsa for dressing. In the same section, I found Grilled Salmon, however, I would avoid this purchase. Seemingly a good choice, the seasoning or marinade on the fish has many preservatives, additives and sugars that make this not the best choice.

There are plenty of fresh fruit options, cut and ready to eat. While fruits are high in sugars, if you choose the berries, you will also be choosing fiber, antioxidants and other phytonutrients that are great – and currently in season! (Market Basket offers a selection of locally sourced produce, usually well labeled in the store.) The yogurt parfait that is nearby is a less great choice. People who include dairy in your diet – listen up! The parfait yogurt is most always a sugary yogurt, not a Greek Yogurt. The label lists many preservatives, stabilizers, extenders, and sugars that you want to avoid or eliminate from your diet. This is a processed food that is masquerading as a healthy option.

Around the corner you can find a variety of nuts. A few of my favorites are walnuts, pistachios and cashews.

Mosey through the produce to find an apple. An apple and some nuts can be a great snack – portion out the nuts ahead of time, though! Again, maybe too hardcore, but one of my favorites is avocado. Sometimes I cut them in half and scoop them out with a spoon, the skin doubles as a bowl. Here, I paired an avocado with prosciutto for some additional flavor.

The quickest grab and go evah, but not always your best choice unless you’re headed to a workout. Most bars are filled with sugars, artificial flavors and sweeteners, stabilizers and more. Sure, there’s an exception or two, but I would mostly avoid this option unless it between this and the equivalent of fries – or you are working out for an extended period of time.

Head over to the deli section and grab some fresh or packaged deli meats. I generally avoid anything with nitrates, nitrites, sodium erythorbate and potassium sorbate. There are absolutely options without these, but far less. Del Duca has a prosciutto with pork and sea salt as the ingredients. Yay!

While these look and taste (yes, I’ve eaten them before) ok, unless the other option is pizza, I don’t choose these. And, as you are standing in Market Basket, you have plenty of better options!

This Greek Yogurt is another imposter of health. Berries and greek yogurt – of course that’s good for me. I reviewed the label and found that the total calories are 120 and the total sugars are 16 gram = 64 calories. More than half of this is sugar. The Chobani flips are next door, but with lots of sugars, perservatives and stabilizers. I would turn around to grab a shrimp ring that provides a healthier option with protein and without sugar.

Nonfat products usually have more sugars to improve the taste when fat is removed.

These Joseph’s grab and go’s get a strong B/B-. All of the ingredients pass my label list except one – potassium sorbate. With the combinations of food in the container, there does need to be a preservative in there. Joseph’s uses lemon juice, vinegar, salt and tumeric allowing less need for preservative heavy hitters. As I eat very little processed foods and am discerning about ingredients when I do, I will occasionally choose an item like this if necessary.

On my way out, my eye was immediately drawn to my combo nemesis – coffee and caramel. Dunkin Coffee Thins near the impulse-buy items were tempting. Had I been post long run, I most certainly would have been eating these. On my healthy/not healthy outing, I had to read the ingredient labels (actually I would do this anyway). Ingredients: Coffee Mass Cocoa Butter, DnD coffee, Sugar, Milk, Whey, Lactose, Maltodextrin, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavors and Salt. If someone asked me how to increase inflammation in their body I would list all of these things.

There are many more options to evaluate, but use some simple rules to help you figure it out. Stuff without a label may be better (apple). Stuff with a label may not always bad, but not always good. Read the Nutrition Labels, specifically sugars, as well as the ingredients list and pay attention to preservatives, dyes and artificial ingredients. Don’t get those 🙂