Grocery Shopping with CBHA Dietitian Karlee Kerr

The cupboards are bare and it’s time to replenish your food supply. It can sometimes be a daunting task. Where to begin?

Let’s assume you’ve taken a few minutes to sit down and plan what you’re going to cook for your family this week. With your shopping list in hand, you head out with a firm resolve to buy only what is on your list. You walk into the store, grab a cart, and pause for a minute. “Here’s where you need to be on your guard,” warns Karlee Kerr, CBHA registered dietitian. “The store is laid out in such a way that it influences your buying choices. Ever notice there is some really yummy stuff at the front of the store? These items seem to call out to you, “How about that box of cookies? – a nice after dinner treat for sure. Or a bag of potato chips to munch on during the game?”

You survive the store’s entrance without reaching for the cookies, candy, or chips. The produce isle is your first stop. Our area of the state produces lots of fruits and vegetables for our consumption. But it’s the middle of winter and our choices are limited. Seasonal produce is usually available to us in abundance and at the best prices. Be sure to check for ripeness and freshness. Kerr also recommends comparing the pros and cons of canned versus fresh versus frozen produce.

The meats and fish section is next. We need to think about trans-fats and saturated fats in this department. Once you know what to look for it can be easy to navigate. Healthier meat choices include lean meat such as turkey, chicken, fish, and meat that is low in saturated fat.

We move on to the dairy section. We again have to watch out for fats. Compare the fat content in dairy products made with whole milk versus nonfat or reduced-fat milk. Include milk, cheese, yogurt, and sour cream. Be sure to compare nutrition facts labels of yogurts and the amount of added sugar.

Almost done! But we need some breads and cereal. Check the list of ingredients for whole grains and read the rest of the fact labels. At this point Kerr advises extreme caution, “Food companies use marketing strategies to advertise to children (colors, characters, candy-themed cereal and other misleading advertising such as “healthy”) cereals.” Kerr warns that these cereals are not often healthy and can actually be unhealthy when they contain high levels of sugar. There are cereals on the market that are a healthy choice. for your children. You just have to look for them. The number of grams of sugar is a good place to start. Lower is better.

When deciding on what kind of bread to buy, looking at the nutrition label for the grams of fiber in the bread is a good starting point. In this case, the higher the number, the better. More fiber usually means a healthier bread. And, whole wheat or whole grain bread is less processed than other breads.

Kerr plans to conduct a real life tour of the grocery store in the near future. We will let you know when that’s coming. Keep an eye on our social media and website for details. In the meantime, Kerr says, “I am always available to answer your nutrition questions.”