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Cayman Parent | Articles | Community | Smart Food Shopping | Making Healthy Choices

Smart Food Shopping | Making Healthy Choices

Grocery stores in Cayman offer high quality food with many brands and items to choose from. They range in price, source and availability depending on your shopping needs and choices. When shopping for imported food, here are some things to look out for to help you make healthy choices for the whole family.

A sketch of a milk carton, eggs and cheese ( dairy products)


Most major health authorities recommend you choose low or nonfat milk and other dairy foods to meet the recommended three daily servings of dairy. New USDA rules require that organic cows be kept on pasture at least half the year so they can obtain plenty of fresh grass. Organic cows may not be treated with synthetic hormones to boost milk production.
Look for milk that is organic, and non GMO. Try and buy the cartons with the latest sell by date, always keep milk cold and don’t freeze it as this causes separation and graininess. There are several kinds of milk on the market – lactose free, rice and soy based milks, nut milk to cater for all needs and intolerances.

A sketching of a hard boiled egg with the shell cracked


Brown, white, jumbo, organic, free-range, vegetarian-fed, humane, farm-fresh – there are dozens of options and range in price from CI$2.99 all the way up to CI$9.99. (You can also buy local eggs!)Outside of buying local, Free Range is the top choice which means the chickens must have access to the outdoors. Cage free is the next best option, however, note that just because the chickens are not in cages does not mean that they are still not in a confined space together and mass produced.
The FDA already outlaws hormones in poultry production. Check the asterisk on the carton. Any claim of hormone-free should be qualified by the statement: “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

A sketching of a cow with the cuts of beef drawn on to show it's to do with the beef


Cayman does have local beef that is quite tasty. Though there isn’t a large quantity available, it is worth trying out with best uses being in stews, chili or slow cooker recipes. Here are some tips for shopping for imported beef:
•Grain-fed vs. grass-fed: Nearly 75% of U.S. beef comes from cattle fattened on grain (usually corn) for three to six months in feedlots. Since corn is not a natural part of a cow’s diet, cattle fed on it may experience stress and other ailments, so they are routinely treated with antibiotics. They also receive growth hormones to increase their size (and value, as beef is sold by weight).
•Grass or pasture-fed beef comes from cattle that forage on grasses and legumes. Their meat is lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories than grain-finished. Many people believe that grass-fed cattle are a more sustainable choice. However, raising grass-fed cattle is time-consuming and requires large open spaces, variables that raise its price. Most are imported from Canada, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Brazil.
•Natural and organic: Beef labeled ‘natural’ must not contain any artificial ingredients and cannot be more than minimally processed, such as ground beef. ‘Organic’ beef must come from cattle raised and certified according to the USDA’s National Organic Program. Organic cattle must be fed 100% organically and without antibiotics or hormones.

A simple sketching of a chicken walking


Select farmers in the Cayman Islands have free range chicken available – it is best to visit the farmers market and talk with the farmers to see what they have to offer. Several brands are available at your grocers; here are some guidelines for your best chicken options:

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Cayman Nutrition

Chad Collins of Cayman Nutrition is an experienced, registered dietician.


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