shopping_womanBe Smart in the Supermarket


Before you begin, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • Make a list before you arrive at the store. Stick to it for success! This will help you to avoid impulse purchases. Following a list can save you money!
  • Avoid shopping on an empty stomach. Studies have proven that shoppers are more likely to purchase less healthful food items when they are hungry.
  • Focus primarily on the outer perimeter of the grocery store. This is a general rule of thumb for those who are trying to eat healthier, as most fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products are located on the outer edge of the store. However, there is an exception to every rule. Items such as whole grains, spices, and herbs are still found amidst the inner grocery aisles.
  • Grab the weekly ads and coupons! Know what items are on sale and be sure you are getting great stuff, for not a lotta money!

Let’s go shopping!


Fruit and Fruit Juice

For peak flavor, the most nutrition, and the best price, choose fruits that are in season when they are ripe and fresh. Fruits are full of flavor with a modest amount of calories; most contain no fat and very little sodium. In addition, they provide an array of vitamins and minerals, especially when you choose a variety of colors.

  • myplateMyPlate Message: Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables!
  • Choose fresh and frozen more often. To save on spoilage, wash fresh fruit just before eating.
  • When purchasing canned fruit, choose those with no sugar added or those that are packed in their own juice.
  • Opt for 100% juice. Some juice cocktails contain less than 10% juice.


Bright colored vegetables are packed with nutrients, including calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, and iron.

  • MyPlate Message: Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables!
  • Choose fresh and frozen more often. These options allow you to control the amount of fat and salt that are added during meal preparation.
  • Avoid buying more than you will use. In some cases it is more economical to purchase your veggies from Festival’s Fresh Cut area or off the Salad Bar.
  • Be aware that frozen vegetables with cream or cheese sauces are higher in fat and/or sodium. Choose those less often.
  • When purchasing canned vegetables, choose those that are “no added salt” or “low sodium” varieties.

Meat & Meat Alternatives

  • MyPlate Message: Go lean with protein and keep it to 4 oz. per meal.
  • Beef: Look for round or loin cuts, and choice or select varieties.
  • Poultry: Choose the leaner, white meat (breast and wing) and avoid eating the skin.
  • Fish: Frozen, un-breaded fillets or steaks are best options. Canned fish is also a great choice.  For adequate omega 3 fat consumption, aim for 2 servings of fatty fish (salmon, trout, albacore tuna, mackerel, herring) per week.
  • Consider vegetable proteins such as beans or tofu for a lean protein option.


whole_grainsRead package labels or look for the Whole Grain Stamp to find whole grain products.

  • MyPlate Message: Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Bread: Choose varieties with at least 3g fiber per serving.
  • Pasta and rice: Choose whole grain pasta noodles and brown rice more often to add nutrients and fiber to your diet.
  • Cereal: Choose cereals with at least 3g fiber.
  • Read ingredient labels: Choose grain products with a whole grain as the first ingredient.
  • Use NuVal.  Compare the NuVal Score of grain products and choose a higher score!

Milk & Dairy

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or other dairy products every day to ensure an adequate intake of essential nutrients. Milk is the number one source of both calcium and Vitamin D in our diet.

  • MyPlate Message: Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1% milk).
  • When you purchase dairy products, choose these more often:
    • Skim or 1% milk, fat-free or reduced fat cottage cheese and sour cream.
    • Light or Greek yogurt (which has more protein per serving than regular yogurt).

Frozen Meals and Entrées

Frozen meals and packaged entrees vary widely in serving size and nutrient content. Be sure to compare Nutrition Facts panels, serving sizes, and NuVal Scores to find the most nutritious choices.

  • For a Frozen Meal:
    • Choose meals that contain less than 400 calories, 15g fat, and 800mg sodium.
    • In general, lean and light meals are lower in calories, fat, and sodium than their standard counterparts.
    • Add a serving of vegetables or fruit to fill nutritional gaps.

Additional Resources

General Health/Wellness

Kid’s Nutrition

Food Journals/Tracking

Food Safety