BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - While grocery shopping can seem like a chore at times, it can actually be one of the best tools to keep your family on track for healthy living. The key, says registered dietician Kristen Gradney, is making a list and preparing for your shopping trip before you even leave.
"The biggest mistake is not reading labels for one, and not planning ahead," said Gradney.
Gradney says making a menu for the week can help you narrow down exactly what groceries you need, and also helps you stay on budget.
When shopping for groceries, Gradney says to shop on the perimeter of the store where fresh produce and meats are displayed. The dietician explains that these foods are usually all natural, with no processing. She also says that it is important to eat with color. Make sure that you pick fruits and vegetables that are colorful. The brighter, the more health benefits they usually have.
"You want to make sure that your family gets at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day," said Gradney.
When it comes to meat, Gradney says to stock up on fish. The American Heart Association recommends a serving of fish a few times a week. Many fishes, like tuna or salmon, are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
However, if you prefer turf over surf, stick with lean cuts of meat that are low in fat like sirloin or even ground turkey or chicken.
For the dairy aisle, Gradney suggests looking for items that have no more than 2 percent fat. She also says that butter with plant based oils, like canola or olive, are best.
Finally, as you graze into the center aisles of the store check the nutrition label before tossing it in. Selections should be low in calories, cholesterol and sugar, and should have a good variety of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
For more information on how to properly utilize nutritional labels, click here.