Take the challenge: Make over your grocery cart

By Sue Perry on May 5, 2011 12:01:00 am

Grocery-cart Everyone has a secret pastime. When I’m killing time on line at the supermarket, I like to peek at what the shoppers in front of me have in their carts. As the fruits, veggies, and whole grains roll along the conveyer belt, I want to give gold stars. I even wonder what recipes they’re going to spin all that good stuff into.

But when I see more chips, soda, and cookies than real food on that belt, I want to do an intervention. Nothing drastic, but I fantasize about asking the person to trade in just one bag of puffy cheese curls for a bag of ready-to-eat baby carrots—they’re the same shape and color, only one is loaded with beta carotene and filling fiber and the other is nothing but a puffy tube of salt and fat.

Or how about swapping the bag of potato chips for a bag of real russets that can be roasted crisp in the oven with a lot less fat and fewer calories—not to mention the money saved.

After reading how more fat- and sugar-loaded foods are muscling out the fruits and veggies in American diets than ever before (click on the infographic at Civil Eats), I think we should all take the challenge: Really scan what’s in our grocery carts, and before heading to the checkout, take out one less healthy food, and replace it with something better-for-you from the produce aisle.

Do I practice what I preach? You bet! This year I gave up my one-a-day soda habit for vitamin-packed juice. I’ve replaced the weekly box of cookies with fresh fruit that sits on the kitchen counter where it actually gets eaten! And I’ve cooled it on the heat-and-eat processed foods, where hidden fats and sugars often hide, and added more mushrooms, dark leafy greens, and other veggies that I’ve been turning into delicious, quick-cooking pasta sauces.

Tell me what swaps you’ve made.

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Sue Perry

Sue Perry

Posted at 12:01:00 AM in
Cooking | Featured | Fitness | Food | Health | Nutrition | Shopping | Sue Perry

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12:09:10 PM on Fri May 6 2011

You do know that vitamin-packed juice is pretty much the same thing as soda right? Regardless of the type of sugar and how many vitamins it has, it's still pretty much sugar water.

And all those vitamins? Pretty much flushed through your body without being absorbed. But hey, if it makes you feel like you're doing something, great!


12:20:21 AM on Sat May 7 2011

I have a little rule I use when shopping as well. I call it my "two-treat rule." When I do my weekly shopping, I load up on healthy foods but allow myself two treats each week, so I don't completely deprive myself and then binge the second I find myself stressed out. It usually amounts to a single bar of dark chocolate and some sort of processed meal for when I find myself being lazy.

Sharon Eicher

04:29:14 PM on Sun May 15 2011

I have been consciously buying items that contain more crude fiber. My 4 year old loves cheesy crackers. So I buy the whole wheat variety when I can. I just bought a box that said "5g of whole wheat in each serving" on the front of the box and thought "great!"
When I read the label at home, I realized that there is not 5g per serving of fiber, but ONE. This is the same amount as the completely unhealthy but better tasting cracker.
It is easy to make choices like a real apple is better for you than corn-syrup-flavored apple sauce, but marketing gimmicks, like this "cracker trick," really make it hard to eat better unless you either make everything from scratch or are a food detective 24-7.

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