Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Secrets of Supermarket Shopping

by Susan B. Dopart, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.. Nutrition and Fitness Consultant

How should you, as a consumer, navigate the the grocery store?

1. Location, location, location: Shop the perimeter of the store as much as possible -- these are areas you will find more unprocessed foods that maximize your health. Try to avoid the temptation of the sale and special items at the end of the aisles.

2. Stick to fresh, whole foods, preferably without a label. If something does have a label, try to limit the number of ingredients to less than five or six. If the product contains multiple ingredients, it is more processed and less nutrient-dense. Case in point: Apples and lettuce do not have labels.

3. Make a list before going to the store and stick to it. You may have to put on blinders to get past all the processed foods and temptations, but your wallet and body will thank you later. Avoid the samples being given out since they are normally high-cost, low-health, value items being pushed by the manufacturer.

4. Don't be fooled by the labels on the front such as "lowers cholesterol," or "helps lower heart disease." If they have to put a health slogan on the label to convince you to buy it, go back to the perimeter.

5. Become educated on food items and terms -- know which foods are genetically modified (containing GMOs), and which foods are preferable to buy organic. This last one takes time and is a process, but a little education outside of the grocery store will make your in-store experience easier and less complicated.

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