4 Tips For Making Your Next Grocery Shopping Trip Healthier

Julia Little  |  September 29, 2015

Senior nutrition starts in the store. After all, your cooking can only be as healthy as the ingredients you've purchased. Planning a trip to the store usually involves looking up some recipes to make during the week, making a list and then scouting the aisles for the right stuff. If don't have an exact list of all the healthy foods you want to eat this week, you can still fill up your cart with nutritious foods. Just follow these three tips and your cart is sure to have a healthy haul.

1. Look for high-fiber foods
A diet rich in fiber is part of a healthy lifestyle.  According to the Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber can help to lower your cholesterol, control blood glucose levels and maintain the health of your bowels. Though the entire list of foods high in fiber is quite long, most fruits and vegetables will do the trick. A few examples of foods with a lot of dietary fiber include beans, carrots, apples, cauliflower, potatoes and peas.

2. Load up your cart with color
The easiest way to get some variety in your diet is to mix and match the entire rainbow of colors. The University of North Dakota recommended eating fruits and vegetables from all over the color spectrum, as different colors often indicate the presence of different vitamins. For instance, orange plants contain carotenoids, which give them their unique color. Some orange plants are rich in vitamin A while others contain more B and C  vitamins. White plants are often high in potassium, red plants may contain lycopene and green plants are good sources of folate. People need all of these vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, so the more colorful your shopping cart, the better off you'll be.

3. Stay away from high fat meats
Some fat in your diet is fine, and meat is a good source of protein. But you should try to avoid meats that are too high in saturated fat. You can do this by selecting certain cuts of meat over others, or choosing different animals. For instance, Michigan State University suggested eating goat as a lower-fat alternative to more common meat options.The university said that goat typically contains half as much fat as beef and 40 percent less saturated fat than chicken.

4. Always read nutrition labels
Some food marketing can be deceptive. To avoid being tricked by gimmicks, it's a good idea to learn how to properly read a nutrition label. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggested that consumers start by reading the number of servings per package. Often, food manufactures can make a product look healthier than it is by claiming one small package contains multiple servings. Once you've checked the amount of servings, look for the information about calories, cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium. As for vitamins and minerals, anything over 20 percent is considered high, according to the FDA.

These steps are easy to remember while you're perusing the grocery store aisles. Use them to create a tasty menu that contributes to good senior health.

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