A New Year to A New YOU: “Shop the U”

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It’s really simple. You stick to the U. You know, the U.

It’s about sticking to the outer walls of the grocery store or market because that’s where the most nutritious foods are found. Buying fresh, real, wholesome foods along the perimeter of the store ensures you are making the healthiest food choices. PLUS, that way you are also following the healthy eating plate (Harvard, 2011) and limiting portion sizes too.

There are 5 steps in how to “shop the U.”

1.Avoid the center aisles to save yourself calories and money. True, you have to get non-food items from the center aisles, but confidently know what you’re going for when you enter the calorie-laden, processed food war zone! Have your plan or list ready for knowing exactly what you are going to buy while in the center aisles, if you must shop there — natural peanut butter, canned fruits and veggies (choose no or low-sodium, no sugar added cans), healthy oils (like olive and canola; avoid trans fat), whole grains (quinoa, couscous, brown rice, oat and wheat bran, whole grain pastas, etc.), and coffee and tea.

2. Load up your basket with raw fresh fruits and vegetables. You are less likely to pile up unhealthy snack foods in your basket when it looks like a garden of goodness! Explore new fruits and veggies, and save money on seasonal winter offerings like Belgian endive, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, chestnuts, clementines, collard greens, grapefruit, kale, kiwi, oranges, leeks, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, tangerines, and turnips.

3. The fresh meat section is where you can find lean cuts of chicken, turkey, pork, beef, and fish. Talk to your grocery store butcher to find out when the freshest selections arrive into the store – the fresher, the better. If you want the best though, consider networking with a local farmer to purchase fresh meats, like Auburnlea Farms in Gladys, VA.

4. When shopping in the dairy section, which includes milk, eggs, yogurt, and fruit juice, the things to keep in mind are fat, sodium,and sugar/carbohydrate amounts. Only buy 100% juice and keep your daily intake to 1 small glass. There are now many alternatives to cow’s milk, like soy and almond milks that have other nutritional qualities to them. 0% fat yogurt is high in protein and is yummy when added with a serving of fresh fruit.

5. Not all breads are created equal. Choose 100% whole grain breads. Mass-produced bread products may have hidden preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and other artificial ingredients. Read the nutrition label ingredients and be knowledgeable about what your eating.

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