HEALTHY GROCERY SHOPPING
Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!
Good nutrition starts with smart choices in the grocery store. Cooking up healthy meals is a challenge if you don't have the right ingredients in your kitchen.
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**Tips on HEALTHY GROCERY SHOPPING
Plan Ahead for Success
The process starts even before you head to the grocery store, experts say. Before you set out for the market, plan your meals for the week, and create a list to shop from. It takes a few minutes, but saves time in running back to the store for missing ingredients.
To save money, use coupons, check the weekly grocery ads, and incorporate sale foods into your meal planning. And don't shop hungry: An empty belly often results in impulse purchases that may not be the healthiest.
"When planning your grocery list, consult the guidelines of MyPyramid [the government nutrition web site mypyramid.gov] to make sure you are including all the foods you need for good health," advises Elizabeth Ward, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids.
** Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping
1. Produce. Spend the most time in the produce section, the first area you encounter in most grocery stores and usually the largest. Choose a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables. The colors reflect the different vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content of each fruit or vegetable.
2. Breads, Cereals, and Pasta. Choose the least processed foods that are made from whole grains. For example, regular oatmeal is preferable to instant oatmeal. But even instant oatmeal is a whole grain, and a good choice.
When choosing whole-grain cereals, aim for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving, and the less sugar, the better. Keep in mind that 1 level teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams and let this guide your selections. Ward points out that cereals -- even those with added sugar -- make great vehicles for milk, yogurt, and/or fruit. Avoid granolas, even the low-fat variety; they tend to have more fat and sugar than other cereals.
Bread, pasta, rice, and grains offer more opportunities to work whole grains into your diet. Choose whole-wheat bread and pastas, brown rice, grain mixes, quinoa, bulgur, and barley. To help your family get used to whole grains, you can start out with whole-wheat blends and slowly transition to 100% whole-wheat pasta and breads.
3. Meat, Fish, and Poultry. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish a week. Ward recommends salmon because people often like it, and it's widely available, affordable, not too fishy, and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Be sure to choose lean cuts of meat like round, top sirloin, and tenderloin, opt for skinless poultry, and watch your portion sizes.
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