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Good Nutrition Starts at the Grocery Store

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Having a savvy supermarket strategy when grocery shopping is the first step towards good nutrition, according to one dietician. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

Good nutrition starts with smart choices, and many of those choices are made at the supermarket. But do you have a supermarket strategy?

Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian and volunteer for the UJA Federation's new wellness initiative, says you should. She is helping to send the message that healthy eating begins with healthy shopping. NY1 caught up with her at Stop and Shop in Queens to get some tips.

"So when you're thinking about what you need to purchase, you should think about it before you enter the supermarket. One thing I tell people right away is make a list so when you go, you buy what you need. You don't get tempted by all the extras that are offered to you there," Richter says.

Once you get to the store, you should try to fill your cart with fresh healthy food, so map out the store.

"We want to think about what the strategy of the layout's going to be. I say start with the perimeter. That's where you're going to find your fresh fruits and vegetables, your seafood, your meat and your dairy. Once you hit the aisles, that's where it's going to be a little bit more processed because the items are going to be packaged and they're going to have to have a shelf life for them," Richter says.

Read those labels carefully, but look for more than just calories.

"You want to see how much sugar is in it. The lower the better. You want to see how much fat. You want your fat to be coming from nuts, seeds, avocados, salmon, but not from your dairy, not from your meats, because that's the unhealthy fat for you. The more fiber, the better, so when you're buying your grains, your cereals, your bread, fiber is what's key," Richter says.

And look for expiration dates. You want things to last as long as possible in your home. "Sell by" is the manufactures date for stores to clear it from the shelves and "use by" or "best by" is a guide for consumers, but you need to use your judgment to determine freshness.
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The golden rule of grocery shopping is, don't go to the supermarket hungry because you end up buying unhealthy things that you just don’t need. Her advice is to bring a snack so you could keep your eating and your shopping in check.

Throughout the store, some small decisions can have a big impact on your diet and overall health, so stay tuned for my next report, where Richter takes us through the aisles and to the various departments to show us how to be smart and healthy shoppers.

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