Local News

Learn How To Find Healthier Options At Local Grocery Store

Posted May 26, 2006

— Grocery shopping to fit a healthier lifestyle can be confusing. Clever packaging can fool shoppers into buying food that is not always the best choice.

Healthier eating is all about making good choices. Breakfast is a good place to start. Registered dietician Natalie Newell said fiber should be a priority.

"I tell my clients to look for cereal that has four to five grams of fiber per half cup. If it doesn't, put it back," she said.

Some cereal looks fiber-rich, but check the label. Some only have two grams of dietary fiber. Harris Teeter is among the stores that offer help with special shelf labels that highlight healthy choices.

If it has fiber, then check trans fats. Grocery shoppers want low or no trans fats. The information is now required on all food labels. Studies show trans fats can have an effect on cholesterol.

Shoppers should also look at sugar content.

"I tell my clients, look at the first four ingredients. If they have sugar, high fructose, you want to stay away from those products," Newell said.

Sugar is a big stumbling block when choosing many foods and drinks. It adds up to too many calories in breakfast bars.

"A lot of people think those types of products are fruit, but actually they're just jam," Newell said.

For those who want an English muffin to start the day, a label that reads "100% Whole Wheat - Hearty Grains," may make a shopper think that means high fiber, but it only has three grams, compared to some "light" multigrains that have eight grams.

Bagels are also important to keep an eye on.

Some bagels have eight grams of fiber, but also contain 270 calories.

"That's a whole day's servings when you can go to the other aisle and pick up two slices of bread for half the calories and get the same amount of fiber, if not more," Newell said.

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