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Dietitians Dish: Make the most out of grocery store shopping

Aug. 17, 2010 at 3:17 a.m.

Loretta Cordes

By Loretta Cordes

The combination of a hectic schedule and limited budget can make a trip to the grocery store an unpleasant task. Also, being unprepared when you go grocery shopping can lead to frustration, unhealthy food choices and added expense.

Here are some healthful tips to help you get prepared for your trip to the grocery store.

1. Keep a running grocery list at home of items that need to be replaced, so you do not need to worry about forgetting anything.

2. Plan your meals as you make out your grocery list. This will assign a purpose to the food items on your list. Put aside any coupons at this time that you will use when you go to the grocery store. Use coupons for items that you buy on a regular basis.

3. Check the supermarket specials and plan your list according to what is on sale. Compare generic to national brands for cost savings.

4. Organize your list according to the layout of the store. This will make your trip more efficient.

5. Do not shop when you are hungry. This will help you avoid making unplanned purchases.

6. Shop for non-perishable items first and choose your refrigerated and frozen items at the end of your trip.

7. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables. The colors represent the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients found in the different fruits and vegetables. Take time in the produce section to know what is available. Choose those that are in season. Frozen fruit and vegetables are also good choices. Buy frozen vegetables without sauce and fruits that are frozen without sugar. When buying canned food, choose vegetables that are canned without added salt and fruit that is packed in juice instead of heavy syrup.

8. Choose whole wheat bread and pastas and brown rice. When choosing cereals, select those that are high in fiber (5 grams of fiber per serving). Other options include quinoa, bulgur and barley. Remember that beans, peas and lentils are excellent sources of fiber.

9. Include lean meat choices, such as round, top sirloin and tenderloin. If you are unable to buy skinless poultry because of budget limitations, just remove the skin before cooking. Tuna packed in water is an economical and healthy choice.

10. Dairy foods provide calcium and vitamin D. It is best to buy skim or 1 percent milk. There are a variety of low fat and non fat yogurts available. Do not forget low fat cheeses.

With a little planning, you will end up with healthy foods and have a pleasant trip to the grocery store.

Loretta Cordes is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a Master's of Science Degree in Human Sciences and Certified Diabetes Educator. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.

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