The grocery store can be daunting. Despite common tips like shopping the perimeter, going on a full stomach and having shopping lists ready, picking out the best food can still be a struggle. Factor in countless shady ingredients such as hidden pesticides and food additives, and you can feel completely helpless. Enter Food Scores, the Environmental Working Group's online service and iOS app that helps point you to the most nutritious options on the market.
All you have to do is plug in any food—the extensive database of 80,000 food items has almost any brand you can think of. On your iPhone (an Android app is in the works), it is even easier: simply do a barcode scan. What you get won't be a jumble of health jargon, but rather easy-to-understand visual cues such as a number score from one to ten ("lower concern" to "higher concern") and a red or green color telling you whether the food you picked is a decent option or not.
Those simple signs are enough to guide you on your grocery trip, but you also have the option of learning more. Food Scores is the most user-friendly healthy eating resource out there. For instance, when we plugged in a box of Doritos Nacho Cheese chips, it got a grade of seven with a high processing concern. That's all you need to know to steer clear, but Food Scores also indicates whether food is certified organic, contains synthetic food dyes, non-specific "flavors," high sodium or sugar and whether it might be a product of hormone-treated animals.
The best part of Food Scores is how helpful this site can be over time. Scanning products will help you develop a wider knowledge that leads to sustainable eating changes you can keep up with. Eventually, you'll be picking out the best products on your own intuition.
Test Food Scores out here.