Face it, most—or maybe all—of us want to be eating better, particularly as we enter the New Year. It’s a common resolution, but it’s easier said than done.
I came across an interesting article in Psychology Today with research on New Year’s resolutions and best helps people keep them. About 40 percent of people make resolutions, but few stick with them. And of 200 people who made regular resolutions and were studied over two years, only 19 percent reported feeling successful in reaching their goal when researchers touched base with them at the end of the study.
Although this seems like a low number, the study found that people who made resolutions were 10 times more likely to make a positive change after six months versus those who wanted to change but did not make a resolution. Researchers also discovered that those who successfully kept their resolutions had slipped or made mistakes while working on their goal during the two years, but then got back on track and persisted.
Particularly when it comes to food, it’s easy to slip into less healthy eating. I’m certainly guilty of it. While I pride myself on eating well—buying lots of fruits and veggies, planning healthy weekly menus, eating mainly plant-based—I have my vices (potato chips and almost anything sweet). I was recently introduced to an app that helps keep me in check on the foods I buy: It’s called OptUP.
Created by a team of health, nutrition, data and tech experts at Kroger, the app puts nutritional information for all items available at Kroger and its affiliate stores at your fingertips with a nutritional score from 1 to 100, and a green (71+ score), yellow (36–70) or red (1–35) distinction. Foods with more protein and fiber (such as fruits, veggies and nut-based items) rate higher, while products higher in calories, saturated fat, salt and sugar score lower.
To start using OptUP, simply enter your shopper-card number, and every time you shop, you’ll get an overall score of your purchases—600 or better is ideal for each shopping trip—plus a breakdown of items by color category and nutritional score. For example, a bunch of raw spinach has a green score of 90, while a bag of Boulder Canyon potato chips is a yellow score of 40 and a Twix bar is a measly red score of 4. Kroger dietitians recommend a cart mix with at least 50 percent green-category products.
A fun feature is the ability to scan products with your smartphone while shopping to view nutritional info as well as a list of better-for-you options. Instead of a Twix bar, the app suggests Ghirardelli (yellow score of 42) or Hershey’s dark chocolate (yellow score of 52) bars. So, I don’t have to give up my chocolate!
As you enter this New Year with a goal of eating better, consider giving the OptUP app a try. It might be just the tool you need to help you shop with health in mind. You can download it from the App Store or Google Play.