We have the power of choice to decide which foods to buy at the grocery store. Making the healthiest food choices when shopping and eating out is a key to consuming a well-balanced diet.
Guidelines for a Healthy You
Healthy food choices are important for good health and well-being. Eating well means eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods and beverages from theÂ food groupsÂ of MyPlate and staying within your calorie needs. This, combined with choosing foods low in saturated andÂ transÂ fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and salt (sodium) will help to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet while helping to maintain a healthy weight. If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, do so sensibly and in moderation.
For great information on how to meet these goals- both at home and when eating out, take a look atÂ Let’s Eat for the Health of ItÂ (PDF|968 KB). This brochure is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (the federal government’s science-based advice to promote health through nutrition and physical activity). View the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for AmericansÂ hereand visitÂ MyPlate.govÂ for more guidance and tips for eating healthy.
Basic Healthy Shopping Skills
Keys for making your shopping the most healthful:
- Know Your Store!
- Bring a List!
- Use the Facts!
KNOW YOUR STORE
Grocery stores have thousands of products, with most food items grouped together to make your decision-making easier. Many grocery stores have sections where foods are shelved much like the food groups of MyPlate.
The MyPlate food groups put foods with similar nutritional value together. These groups are:
- Milk (calcium-rich foods)
- Meat and Beans (protein-rich foods)
Where are these food groups in your store?
|Food Group||Typical Store Location(s)||Best Choices|
|Variety! Fresh, Frozen, Canned and Dried Fruits.|
Pasta, Rice & Bean Aisle
|Variety! Fresh, Frozen and Canned (especially dark green and orange). Dry Beans and Peas.|
Pasta & Rice Aisle(s)
|Whole Grains for at least half of choices.|
|Milk,Yogurt, & Cheese
|Non-Fat and Low-Fat Milk, Yogurt, Low-Fat and Fat-Free Cheeses|
|Meat and Beans
Meat & Poultry Case
|Lean Meats, Skinless Poultry, Fish, Legumes (dried beans and peas), Nuts.|
Don’t forget that your local farmers market is a great place for finding healthy foods,Â Find a Farmers Market in Your State.
Resources for making healthy food choices:
- Tips for EatingÂ FruitsÂ andÂ VegetablesÂ gives tips and healthful hints on the benefits of fruits and vegetables.
- Tips for Eating Whole GrainsÂ gives tips and healthful hints on the benefits of whole grains
- Milk Matters – Sources of CalciumÂ lists food that are calcium-rich from all food groups.
BRING A LIST
And stick to it! Healthy decisions start at home. Planning ahead can improve your health while saving you time and money. Before shopping, decide which foods you need, and the quantity that will last until your next shopping trip.
Consider creating a shopping list based on the MyPlate food groups to include a variety of healthy food choices. Think about your menu ideas when adding items to your list. Write your list to match the groups to the layout of your store.
Have everyone in your family make suggestions for the shopping list. Kids (and adults too!) are more willing to try new foods when they help to pick them.
USE THE FACTS
The Nutrition Facts that is! The Nutrition Facts panel on the food label is your guide to making healthy choices. Using the Nutrition Facts panel is important when shopping to be able to compare foods before you buy.
What are the facts? When reading the Nutrition Facts panel consider this:
|Keep these Low:||Look for More of these:|
** Use the %Daily Value (DV) column when possible: 5%DV or less is low, 20%DV or more is high.