used to just browse the aisles and look for keywords like 'low fat', 'high fiber', 'healthy', etc... except those products are typically good in one aspect, but then poor in another. e.g. low fat foods typically have alot of sugar. now i ignore the marketing and go straight to the nutrition label. first, i steer towards unprocessed foods. next, i check to make sure the serving size is not deceptive. then i check to make sure sugars and sodium are low. sugar should be around 3 grams or less, 5 grams max. i'll also look at the ingredient list to limit sugar substitues : splenda, sucralose, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup. sodium should be less than 100 milligrams. although some of my protein and workout drinks are closer to 200, and my cottage cheese has about 400. supposedly there is low sodium cottage cheese, but its not available where i shop. those 2 reguirements (sugar and sodium) quickly rule out most products. then i'll look at carbs, protein, and fat. the percentage of each depends on when i'll be eating the food. i want more carbs early in the day, and steer towards more protein later in the day. the amount of fat depends on if its a good or bad fat. e.g. any trans fat is out. but i have some wiggle room here because i generally have to supplement good fats to get over 20% per day, which is needed to avoid going cataolic. for now, i ignore fiber, potassium, and cholesterol values. one value i need to look into is sugar alcohols ... not entirely sure what that is? finally, i might look at the ingredient list again. if the ingredient list is long, with names i cannot pronounce, then i'll put it back.
finished a 2nd week of bulking. calories have been around 2750, which should be at maintenance level. bodyweight got up to 201, but is back to 200, and bodyfat percentage is still 10%. visibly, i think my muscles look slightly fuller, from the extra calories/carbs; and i have more energy for lifting, so strength is slowly increasing. the bad news is my appetite is also increasing. i feel hungrier than when i was cutting, so i'm having to restrain myself from really packing away the calories and bulking too fast. going to wait a couple days before adding 250 calories ... or hold off til next weekend.