Have you had your fill of people telling you about the “worst foods” you can eat or the “foods you should avoid”? The internet is filled with “health gurus” with no background in nutrition or health. It is really important to get your nutrition advice from someone who actually studied nutrition in school for years from accredited programs. You wouldn’t go to a doctor or take medical advice from a computer programmer for your health or would you? Well, you might. People like Food Babe (degree in computers, not nutrition) are filling your feed with false information. So what’s the difference? Why should you care? This graphic from Busy Bee Wellness simply breaks it down for you.
Did you know over retailers all over the world employ Registered Dietitians to help consumers make the healthiest choices at the grocery store? You have access to NUTRITION EXPERTS right in your store aisles! This is an expanding service retailers are embracing more and more. Who else knows more about what foods you may be skipping in the grocery store that are actually great choices? Retail Dietitians are there to help you right where you are, not pass judgement. In this “good food, bad food” war you may see in the media, dietitians give you science based recommendations, not fear mongering.
I asked retail dietitians from all over the country about what foods are not getting in your grocery carts and why you should stop ignoring them. Let’s face it, aren’t you sick of hearing about what you shouldn’t eat? Let’s cheer for the healthy foods in the aisles you might not think twice about.
1. Frozen Fruits & Veggies
Lauren Lindsley, RDN, CD, Heath & Wellness Manager at Skogen’s Festival Foods in Green Bay, Wisconsin, suggests consumers give more thought to frozen produce. She states, “When fresh produce either isn’t available, can’t be eaten in time, or is too expensive, frozen fruits and vegetables make excellent alternatives! Most frozen fruits and veggies are picked when they are perfectly ripe, and packed within hours of being picked. This flash freezing processes seals in freshness, flavor and nutrition. Since they’re always ready when you are, they are great items to keep on hand in your freezer to round out meals or last minute meals and snacks. I also love that frozen vegetables, in particular, come in steam bags, which makes cooking and clean up quick and easy. Stop by the freezer section and stock up for your next busy night!”
Leah McGrath, Corporate Dietitian for Ingles Markets based in North Carolina, also mirrors Lauren’s suggestion. “Frozen fruits are perfect to add to smoothies. If you add frozen fruit like strawberries, pineapple, peaches or mango, you won’t need ice. Your smoothie won’t be as watery. Also, keep different frozen vegetables for soups or stews. Boil frozen edamame for a healthy, fiber rich snack. We are seeing more interesting vegetables mixes that make great sides. Just be sure to watch for added sodium.”
If you want more quick & healthy ideas, follow Leah on Twitter @InglesDietitian or Facebook Leah McGrath- Dietitian.
Lisa Danielson, a supermarket dietitian and food blogger at Grub for Gratitude, recommends beans. “Low sodium (or reduced sodium) canned beans or dried beans that you rinse, soak, and cook are often overlooked. They are a quick and easy source of fiber and protein. Toss them in a skillet for stir fry at supper then bring the leftovers for a salad or wrap for lunch.”
3. Bulk Bins
Alyson Fendrick, Corporate Dietitian for HAC Retail, find that the shoppers tend to go right by the bulk bins. Fendrick states, “Many of the items found in the bulk bins are wholesome nutrient dense foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits/vegetables. Bulk foods are economical, fun to shop, and easy to use. You can buy as much or as little as you want, so the bulk bins are a great way to experiment with new foods.”
4. Pre-cut veggies
April Graff, retail dietitian for HyVee and blogger at ThisRDEats, loves pre-cut veggies. “They save so much time and help knock down the barrier that people have with vegetables, no cutting, less waste, and more variety.”
5. Frozen Cheese Thin Crust Pizza
Ingles Markets Corporate Dieititan, Leah McGrath, recommends cheese thin crust pizza for busy families. She states, “For those busy nights when you have no time, a thin crust cheese pizza is a better option than ordering out. Load it up with a bunch of fresh vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers. After it’s cooked, cut it into thin strips and serve it atop a big tossed salad.”
6. Non Traditional Whole Grains: Millet, Farro, Freekeh, Quinoa
Julie Harrington, a supermarket RD and blogger at RDeliciousKitchen, encourages consumers to try whole grains from non traditional sources. “I try to encourage shoppers to try different whole grains such as quinoa, millet, faro, freekeh, and more. Bulk bins are great for trying new whole grains, so customers are able to purchase a little to try it first, instead of purchasing a whole package for more money.”
Find more of her Supermarket RD Picks on Julie’s Blog.
7. Full Fat Yogurt
April Graff, a dietitian for HyVee in Minnesota, also suggests we are bypassing great options on the yogurt aisle. In her recent blog post she says, “We have been afraid of fat because we thought that “fat makes us fat”. The truth behind that is an excess of any calorie leads to weight gain. But fat has a very important function in our diets. It provides a feeling of satisfaction (have you ever eaten a salad with fat-free salad dressing and just not felt satisfied or “done” with your meal?), helps regulate blood sugars (by slowing down how quickly your body breaks down carbohydrates), and makes it possible to use a variety of nutrients (vitamins A, E, D and K). This isn’t an endorsement to go hog-wild and douse all of your food in fats and oils, but it is permission to enjoy more natural sources of fats in moderation!”
Janine Faber, Healthy Living Advisor for Meijer, encourages consumers to put some nuts in their grocery carts. Faber continues, “Nuts contain protein, heart healthy unsaturated fats and fiber that help to keep you full, and vitamin E, an antioxidant. Nuts are nutrient-rich but also calorie-dense, so moderation is still important. Store nuts in the freezer to help them last longer! Toss them on salads for an enjoyable flavor and crunch. Nuts – almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios – are all staples in our house.”
9. CANNED FISH, such as tuna, salmon and sardines.
Being a veteran supermarket RD, I have heard a ton of “I don’t eat this because…..”. Soy is one of those foods that this type of aisle chatter occurs. There is a misconception that soy is not a healthy choice. Many people have said to me that they are afraid it will cause them to have female traits or increase their risk of breast cancer. Truth is, consuming soy in moderation as part of a healthy diet is a safe protein rich, non dairy alternative. Tofu is a great choice for meatless Monday for a stir fry, add soy milk to cereal or coffee or smoothies, or have some edamame for a protein rich snack. Soy milk contains more protein than other non dairy alternatives.