Bad eating habits? Start with the grocery store

Health officials and dieticians are confused. With all of the healthy information out there, people are still not eating healthy enough. It is getting so bad that obesity rates in children has risen 30 percent.

So what’s the big deal? Bad eating habits and lower fitness levels is creating a nation with poor eating habits and a reliance on supplemental health insurance due to high health care costs.

What doctors and nutritionists are finding is that most people do not know how to eat healthy because they don’t know how to shop healthy. Here is a tour around the grocery store on how to shop well in each grocery aisle.

  • Dairy. Low fat or fat free is the ultimate goal. You can still get your calcium from the less fat milk, but you won’t add on the extra fat. Stick with low-fat yogurt and skim cheese as well. But just because these cow biproducts are low fat does not mean you get double the serving. Stick with the recommended serving (a glass of milk a day and no more than an ounce or two of cheese each day) for optimal eating.
  • Produce. Fresh produce should take up at least half or the majority of your cart. You will increase your healthy food intake if you base your meals and snacks around this produce. Organic seems to be in these days, but if you want to eat that way you are going to pay for it. And you really only need to buy certain fruits and veggies if you want to avoid pesticides. The produce is called the “dirty dozen” because these types of produce receive the most chemical treatments. When buying organic look for: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, lettuce, nectarines, grapes, kale, bell peppers, potatoes and blueberries. All other fruits and veggies are fine to buy non organic.
  • Bread/grains. Whole wheat is king in the grain department. Not only does whole wheat keep you full longer (because of the extra fiber), white bread has the opposite affect. Some argue that ingesting white grains can actually make it harder to lose belly fat.  What to look for: fiber count and whole grains.
  • Meat. Healthiest meats are going to be fish (full of the good fats and filling) and skinless chicken. Still need ground beef to make your favorite dishes? Buy ground turkey as well as mix it half and half. You will lower the fat content significantly without sacrificing the flavor of your dish.
  • Cereal. Need your frosted and sugared cereals? Think again. Sugary cereals spike your blood sugar without keeping you full, leaving you starving mere hours later. Again, whole grain is key here. Oatmeal makes another great and obvious choice.
  • Snacks. Just because something is low in fat it is not low calorie. Check for snacks that have a low sugar content (which will spike your blood sugar) and less than 200 calories per serving. Nuts, plain flavored popcorn and whole grain granola bars are a great bet.