Good nutrition starts with smart choices, and many of those choices are made at the supermarket. In her latest Wellness Report, NY1's Jill Urban hits the aisles to show some important decisions we can make to stay healthy.
For most people, grocery shopping is just another chore we need to get done, but as you wander the aisles of your local supermarket, are you making healthy choices?
"Overall, people don't think about that the food choices you make and you purchase will affect your health and impact your whole well-being," says Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian and a volunteer with the UJA Federation.
Richter took NY1 through the aisles of Stop and Shop to show us how small decisions can have a big impact on our health.
First, if you don't feel like cooking and head for the prepared foods aisle, be careful.
"Look at what's in the foods," Richter says. "If it has a lot of mayonnaise, stay away from it. If it's breaded, you want to stay away from it, cheeses, things like that. Get fresh. Fresh turkey, fresh salmon, grilled vegetables. That's what's going to be the healthiest option.
In the dairy aisle, she says to look for low fat. Dairy is loaded with calcium and protein, but the fat in things like cheese, yogurt or milk is not the healthy fat, so stick to skim or 1 or 2 percent if you can.
Also, watch for fat in the meat department.
"One of the biggest misconceptions at the meat counter is, is ground turkey's always healthiest. Not necessarily. You have to read your labels," Richter says. "For example, this ground turkey is 17 grams of fat, while the ground meat is only 11 grams of fat. So meat is totally fine to have in your diet as long as it's a lean cut."
The snack aisle is often a favorite, and Richter says it's key here to make good choices. She says to look for items that are lower in fat and portion-controlled. The single-serve bags may cost more, but they may be worth it if you need a limit. Also, watch out for those granola and energy bars.
"You got to make sure that they're not glorified candy bars," she says. "You want them to be low in sugar, less than 10 grams of sugar. That way, you're not having a lot of added sugar. You'll get some energy, but it'll be long-lasting."
And don't forget about the frozen aisle. A lot of people think if it's frozen, it's not as healthy, but that's not true. Frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen at their peak, so they taste great and offer the same nutrients as when they are fresh.
So the next time you hit the supermarket, remember these tips so your healthy eating is in the bag.