Health Team

Dietitian Teaches Good Grocery Shopping

Posted March 6, 2008 5:07 p.m. EST
Updated March 6, 2008 11:13 p.m. EST

A registered dietitian lent her expertise to teach a few women about healthy shopping on one special trip to the grocery store.

Carol Farmer, one of the "shoppers," said she did not bring a grocery cart on the trip – just a notebook and a pen.

"I wanted to learn more about making foods taste better, what's healthy," Farmer said."I've got four pages of notes today, and I'm sure it's going to be useful."

Rose Langley, a registered dietitian at Rex Healthcare, shared tips for shoppers to make sure they bought enough to serve 5 cups a day of fruits and vegetables.

"The brighter the color, the better the phyto chemicals, vitamins, minerals," Langley said.

Langley also emphasized women's need for fiber.

"Ladies, we need at least 26 to 30 grams of fiber a day, and unfortunately, the average American might get in 10 if they're lucky," she said.

Marketing tricks on breads can be misleading, she said, so shoppers should look for the fiber content on the ingredient label.

"With your cereal, you always want to look for at least 5 grams per serving," Langley recommended.

Farmer pointed out other advantages to a high-fiber diet: "Fiber in cereal and fiber in bread – that makes you not get as hungry because it stays with you longer," she said.

Langley preached the benefits of low-sodium options in reducing or preventing high blood pressure.

"Eight hundred seventy milligrams of sodium for a serving of this particular soup," Langley said. "OK, that's a lot of sodium."

Low fat is just as important for treating blood pressure, Langley said. "Now, everyone in your family needs to be on 1 percent milk or less," she said.

Consumers should also avoid regular juices and go straight to diet. One cup of juice has 28 grams of sugar and 120 calories, while a same-sized serving of diet juice has 2 grams of sugar and 5 calories.

Margaret Reynolds said healthy shopping might require her to spend more time pushing a grocery cart at first, but she is willing to try it.

"I'm going to read all the labels each time I shop," Reynolds said.