Jan Temple narrows down her supermarket tips to just a few per section: Produce — Talk about leafy vegetables — deep-green is best nutrition buy. Talk about bagged salads — deep-green and with added vegetables are nutrition stars.
Salad dressings — Point out sodium content and share research that some fat is needed to help utilize the cancer-fighting nutrients. Compare regular, light and fat-free while looking at sodium as well as fat. Discuss what other foods may be used as a dressing, such as yogurt.
Canned goods/boxed mixes — Discuss if “reduced” really makes it that much less in fat and sodium. Check on fiber content of grain foods.
Juice — Check labels for 100% juice, versus juice drink, fruit beverage and fruit cocktail.
Meat case — Discuss ground turkey. Share that just because it is ground, doesn’t mean it’s all meat; only if it says, “ground turkey meat.” You may need to buy turkey breast strips and have it ground for you.
Deli — Note the sodium content of deli meats. Discuss how to reduce by preparing your own or eating with other foods to stretch the sodium.
Dairy case — Big discussion about butter vs. margarine.
Cheese — Look at sodium content of cheese. Note how low Swiss cheese is in comparison to the others.
Ready-to-eat breakfast food — Have them grab two favorites and compare calories, serving size, sodium and fiber content.
Anne Linge, MS, RD, cautions everyone, “Don’t travel past temptations like chips, cookies or soda pop if you know they will leap into the cart.” She also advises, “Don't purchase foods containing partially hydro- genated fat or high-fructose corn syrup. Shop with and stick to a list. Try to limit the number of shopping trips you make each week. Avoid processed foods. Not only are they more expensive, but they are usually refined grains, higher in salt and in fat.”
Linda Wild, RD, points out, “The new lower-sugar cereals generally (with few exceptions) aren’t lower in calories. They replace sugar with other carbohydrates.”
Earline Bennett crunches the numbers. Her tip for trans fat is, “Read the small print. For example, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter states 0 g trans fat. Turn it around and look at the Nutrition Facts label. When you add up all the fat, 1/2 gram of trans fat is not accounted for, manufacturers are allowed to state 0 g trans fat as long as it’s 0.5 g or less, so when you finish the 96 servings in a container of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, you consumed 48 g of trans fat.”
Earline’s tip for sodium, “Look at the percent Daily Value column; if you are looking for a low-sodium food, if it’s 5% or lower it’s okay. If it’s 20% or higher, leave it on the shelf.”
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.