Navigating the grocery storeWe have more choices now than ever, and food packaging is designed to catch the shopper’s attention with various health claims. Here are some simple tips to help make your trip through the aisles more of a breeze than a hassle.
By: Analis Ramirez and Allen Anderson, Grand Forks Nutrition and Health
The last time I went to the supermarket for the few items on my list, I couldn’t believe how many decisions I had to make. The shelves beamed with 10 different brands of every flavor and variety I could imagine. Who knew picking up breakfast would be so involved?
We have so many choices now than ever, and food packaging is designed to catch the shopper’s attention with various health claims. If you’ve taken a walk down the cereal aisle, you’ll that even children are targeted using well-known characters and free toys. There are thousands of choices that line the shelves of the grocery store, and choosing the right foods can be over-whelming. Here are some simple tips to help make your trip through the aisles more of a breeze than a hassle.
• Avoid going to the grocery store in a hurry or on an empty stomach. Also, shop the perimeter of the store first. This is where you’ll find your produce, milk products, eggs and meats. In essence, these are your healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods.
• Turn a blind eye to the doughnuts, pop, and other sugar-laden foods at the front of the store. These contain no nutritional value and a heaping amount of calories. It’s best to set your sights on fresh produce.
• Choose a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Watch for what’s in season, and if you can, spend some time getting to know the variety that your local supermarket offers.
• Choose low-fat or nonfat milk and cheeses. For example, opt for fat-free Greek yogurt for its higher protein content and thicker texture.
• Look for “nitrate and nitrite free” products. Most processed meats contain these, and some studies have linked them to an increased cancer risk. Also, turkey dogs and turkey bacon are simple alternatives to their conventional counterparts and are lower in saturated fat.
• Look for breads that are 100 percent whole wheat. Breads labeled “Wheat,” “MultiGrain” or “12 Grain” are not whole grain. Often, these breads still contain enriched white flour and a bit of caramel or molasses to add a brown color.
• Look for fruits canned in their natural juices. This is healthier than the alternative.
• Take a look at the nutrition label. Cereal packaging is often misleading. Some cereals that claim to be “Made With Whole Grains” are loaded with sugar. Aim for cereals with less than 7 grams of sugar and more than 3 grams of fiber per serving.
• When buying frozen meals, remember to read the nutrition label for fat, sodium, and calorie content.