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How do I shop for healthy foods?

Food manufacturers are adopting labeling and rating systems they say will make it easier to shop for foods that are good for you.

These labeling systems use stars, checks, lights or flags. Still, much of the most useful information for making healthy food choices is found on the food's Nutrition Facts Panel.

Look for nutrient-rich foods that provide variety and a large percentage of vitamins and minerals, especially compared to the calorie count.
Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics
The first thing to do when shopping for healthy foods is to become familiar with food labels and what nutrients you are looking for. Personally, I try to look for cereals, breads, rice, and pasta with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. I try to keep the sugar content, particularly when choosing a cereal, to less than 8 grams. As far as fat goes, it's best to avoid anything with trans-fat. I read the labels for cookies, granola bars, rice and noodle mixes. I take the total calories from fat and multiply it by 30. If the value that I get is less than the total calories per serving, then it is a product that is less than 30% fat and would be a good choice, provided it has other nutrients. For example, Kool-Aid would be less than 30% fat, but it isn't necessarily a healthy option.

In addition, load up on fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, fish, and lean meats such as tenderloin, top loin and top round.  Use canola, oil, or sunflower oil.
Cindy Gay
Nutrition & Dietetics
Plan your shopping list around these foods:  Fruits & vegetables, whole grains, lean meat or meat substitutes and low fat dairy. Avoid prepared foods in packages and boxes. Shop the perimeter of the store for fresh produce, lean meats & low fat dairy.

Buy a variety of colorful produce. Buy unseasoned brown rice.

Choose 100% whole wheat breads. Compare labels and choose the product with the least sodium. Oatmeal in the tube is an excellent whole grains choice that doesn't have the added sugars.

Buy raw lean meats. Chicken and turkey without added sodium, fresh or frozen seafood without added sodium, 92% lean ground beef and roasts with "loin" in the name. Eggs are  lean meat substitutes. (Choose 4 or less per week). Natural peanut butter is a lean meat substitute. Dried beans are an excellent choice. If using canned beans, drain and rinse to lose some of the added sodium.

Choose skim milk and low fat yogurts with the least added sugars.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.