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.