There are labels on everything these days! Labels on the foods we buy, clothes we shop for, places we go. It can get down right confusing seeing all the different labels, and trying to figure out what they all mean. Learning what the labels on our food mean is key to finding quality foods these days.
Let me help you understand some labels better.
This means these are products with the stringent classification that meets U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. These guidelines forbid the use of antibiotics and growth hormones in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products and guarantee that the foods where produced without conventional pesticides.
Foods like meat, poultry, and eggs that are minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients.
The letters GMO stand for genetically modified organism. That means that the genetic makeup has been artificially altered and usually with a mutation that helps withstand blight. So, organic foods are, by definition, non-GMO.
Cage – Free ~
This is referring to all animals (livestock and poultry) that freely roam and enclosed area with unlimited access to food and water during their life span. The animals are humanely raised, and companies/owners follow ethical standards to produce “sustainable” meat. Often meaning less disease.
Free – Range ~
This is used to refer to animals (livestock and poultry) with unlimited access to the outdoors, water, and food during their life cycle.
Grass – Fed ~
Animals (livestock and poultry) that are grass fed receive most of their nutrients from grass. The label alone doesn’t limit use of antibiotics, hormones or pesticides.
No Added Hormones ~
You will see this label on beef and dairy only because the federal regulations prohibits hormones in poultry and pork.
It is not easy to know what labels mean when we are shopping. Not to mention most of us have a food budget we need to stick to, or meal plans or large families to feed and are trying to save a buck (or 20). I always say, buy the most organic I can when I can afford it. What is most important to me is that our meat be organic. Then I worry about my veggies, and then fruits.
If you can’t always afford to go all organic, it’s ok because you might not totally need too. There are 15 fruits and veggies that contain minimal levels of pesticides so that means they are safe to eat when conventionally grown. This is according to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. So, chomp on asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, onions, papaya, frozen sweet peas, pineapples and sweet potatoes.
And, if you can hit up farmers markets it is generally cheaper than in a local grocery store. A study was done that showed at least 14 items were priced an average of 39% less at the farmers markets than in stores. You can also partake in CSA (community supported agriculture) shares.
Or maybe, you can save some money and grow some veggies at home. Things like salad greens, green beans, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and carrots can grow in most area’s and yield a nice return by fall. If you have room, great! If not, container gardens are great. If you are a Pinterest fan you can find a ton of ways to grow gardens in smaller area’s.
Key point here is to not stress to much when shopping. Eat the best you can on your food budget. Here are a couple things you might be interested in. The Graze Box, and some coupons for your shopping.