15 Tips for Healthy Supermarket Shopping
A trip to the supermarket can be a bit confusing and even a little overwhelming for those trying to eat healthier. So many choices, so many decisions!
But a trip to the supermarket with Candice Schreiber, RD, LD, a clinical dietician with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) can make healthy eating easier, less confusing – and tastier. So come along as Schreiber leads a recent Shopping With The Experts tour of Lucky’s Market in Clintonville, sponsored by the OSUCCC – James' JamesCare for Life.
Here are some of her top tips:
1. Go green (and a lot of other colors): Eat a lot of and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables — all the colors of the rainbow. They’re chock-full of nutrients and vitamins that will make you healthier and help ward off cancer and other diseases. Schreiber recommends a plant-based diet for everyone, and said it is even more important for cancer survivors.
2. Eat local: “Eat what’s in season,” Schreiber said. “Produce is healthier when it’s local – when it travels a long way it loses nutrition.”
3. Get cooking: It’s better to roast or sauté vegetables. When you boil them, you lose a lot of flavor and nutrition, “unless you’re making soup,” Schreiber said. Plus, they taste better roasted and sautéed.
4. Frozen fruit: Rather than buy bland and unripe strawberries or blueberries shipped in from hundreds of miles away in the winter, buy frozen fruit for your smoothies. Freezing preserves the nutrients.
5. Berry good: Speaking of the berry family, Schreiber said they’re extra healthy because “they have a lot of nutrition and are high in fiber and lower in sugar than many other fruits, such as apples and pears.”
6. Is organic good? There’s still a lot of ongoing research in this area. “There’s no evidence that conventional produce causes cancer; there haven’t been enough studies,” Schreiber said. If you can afford organic, go organic. If you can’t, the conventional produce is OK.
7. Wash up: When you prepare conventional produce, be extra diligent in washing to remove any residual pesticides – and grit from leafy greens. Examples of foods that are farmed with more pesticides than others include apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries and bell peppers. On the flip side, fruits and vegetables such as avocados, sweet corn, cabbage, eggplant and sweet potatoes are farmed with less pesticides.
8. Give it a Try: Try new fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. “If you don’t think you like Brussel sprouts, try them again,” Schreiber said. “I roast them in the oven or sauté them in the skillet and add toasted nuts and dried cranberries.”
9. Less meat: Cut down on the amount of meat you consume. It’s still important to include protein in your diet, and Schreiber said there are many ways to do this, including: lentils, nuts, edamame and beans.
10. Be canny: Speaking of beans, the canned version is fine – and a lot less work than rehydrating and cooking dried beans.
11. Bulk up: More grocery stores have bulk-food sections and a wide variety of whole grains full of phytochemicals, fiber and vitamins. Examples are: quinoa, spelt, winterberries and faro. What about couscous? Not so much: it’s a processed pasta product.
12. The process: Cut down on heavily processed foods that contain a lot of ingredients and preservatives.
13. Bar none: Many cereals and energy bars have lots of added sugars. “Some bars have as much sugar as a candy bar,” Schreiber said.
14. Soda – no. Juice – yes, in moderation: Schreiber recommends water or flavored water that is low in sugar and calories as a soda substitute. Fruit juice has a lot of nutrients, but also a lot of sugar and calories, so limit your consumption. Schreiber says she adds club soda to three ounces of fruit juice.
15. Sweet tooth: You know you have one – and it needs attention every now and then. Eat dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate – and in moderation. “And look for dark chocolate that is at least 72 percent cocoa, it has more anti-oxidants,” Schreiber said.