Let’s Shop For Vegetables and Fruit…

Continuing with the grocery shopping theme from last week, I’d like to provide some blogs on what to look for in particular food groups and foods. First up, do you know what to look for when shopping in the produce aisle?

Vegetables and fruit are some of the healthiest foods we can eat. They provide us with many nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Each color of vegetable and fruit provides different benefits, so choosing a variety is most healthful. At a meal they should make up half our plates and should be included in snacks eaten through the day.

When it is available and affordable, fresh produce is always the best choice. Look for sales in the grocery flyers and shop around for the best prices, especially with produce that is out of season. Your best buys in the produce section will be the ones that are in season.

Although they are some of the healthiest foods, there are some vegetable and fruit choices that are less healthy. The more processed a food is, the less healthy it tends to be. During the processing process, things like fat, salt, sugar, and other additives may be added.

Frozen vegetables and fruit can still be a healthy choice; especially for those items that are more expensive when not in season. Look at the ingredient list on the package and choose those items that have the smallest ingredient list. Choose items that have less additions such as sauces and cheese, as they will be higher in fat and salt.

Most canned vegetables contain added salt. There are some choices that have no added salt; they are healthier options. If there isn’t a “no added salt” option (and you would still like to choose a canned vegetable), discard the liquid in the can and rinse the vegetables with water. This will remove some of the added salt.

Canned fruits (or those packaged in plastic containers) can also be a healthy choice; especially for those items that are more expensive when not in season. These items, however, tend to have sugar added to them. Look for choices whose labels state “packaged in water or fruit juice”. Those whose labels state “packaged in syrup”, contain higher amounts of sugar. As with canned vegetables, discarding the liquid in canned fruits will remove some of the sugar content. Natural sugar found in the fruit is okay; it is the sugar that is added to these products that is not healthy.

The least healthy vegetables and fruit choices are those that are the most processed, such as veggie straws. Sorry to tell you, but these are not an actual vegetable choice!

Hopefully these tips make your grocery shopping a little easier and a little healthier. Do you have any great shopping tips you’d like to share. If so, email me at [email protected].

If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!