When comparing our options in the grocery store, we look at the ingredient list and ask ourselves a few key questions. How many ingredients do this have? Do I know what these ingredients are? Is sugar one of the first few ingredients? There’s no hard and fast rule, but generally the fewer ingredients, the better. The more easily pronounced ingredients, the better. The farther down sugar occurs on the ingredient list, the better (if it appears at all).
As far as nutritional info, we pay particular attention to how much fat, salt, and sugar it contains. We try to eat whole foods, avoid trans fat, look for "good" fats, and limit salt and added sugar (also called high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, or sucrose). Yogurt and pasta sauce are two great examples, where stores carry a wide variety for you to compare labels. You’ll be surprised how many different “recipes” there are for these basic items.
Cooking for one can seem like a fool's errand - so much time and effort to feed just one person. The trick is to minimize your effort while maximizing your output, or in cooking terms, do as little prep work as possible to produce a lot of food (all while keeping costs down, of course). Here are some tips to make cooking for one easy and productive:
Most grocery stores have the same layout, with fresh foods (produce, meat, and dairy) on the perimeter of the store, and processed foods (with longer shelf lives) on the aisles in the middle of the store. Since we try to primarily eat whole, unprocessed foods, we tend to stick to the edges of the store as much as possible.