'Smart Shopping' teaches healthy shopping habits - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

'Smart Shopping' teaches healthy shopping habits

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - With claims like low-carb, calorie-free or zero trans fat, it can be hard to know which foods should make the cut and land in your cart.  

So, if you're not a nutritionist, how do you know what to look for? Mayo Clinic Health System is hoping to help by turning shoppers into supermarket students.

Everyone knows a healthier diet starts in the store, but for shopping novices, where do you start?

"The goal of the grocery store tours is to help people make the best choices and to help them fill their cart with the nutrients that are going to be the best for them and their family," Katie Fichter, Mayo Clinic Nutrition Educator says.

The first lesson: shop on the perimeter of the store. That is where the less-processed food is kept, like fruits and vegetables.

"One of the tips for choosing the most nutritious vegetables is varying your color. So, when it comes to building a stir fry or a salad, trying to get a variety of that color wheel, the reds, the oranges, the greens, the yellows, and even if its just a variety of green colors. The deeper colors mixed with the lighter colors. All the different colors of vegetables carry different nutritional values," Fichter says.

"To get the nutrients in, you want to do the dark greens, like your romaine, your red leafy, your green leafy," Diane Dressel of Mayo Clinic Health Systems says.

When it comes to meat, stick with light meat like turkey and chicken but beware of how it's made.

"Some people grab these on the regular, they're quick and convenient but they are high calorie," Dressel says of pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.

Be aware of where items are placed. Healthier foods are often placed on the top or bottom shelf, while sugar filled foods are in the middle.

"Avoid the end of the aisles. They tend to be higher fat, higher calorie items," Dressel says.

And, no matter what, don't trust the flashy language on the front. Always read the ingredient list on the nutrition label.

"We hear a lot about whole grains and there's a lot of misconceptions, there's lots of labels that say things are whole grain but when we're looking for grains, we want to make sure the word whole is included in the first ingredient," Fichter says.

Here's another tip: make a list of healthy foods before you head to the grocery store and don't forget to stick to it. That way, you'll fill your cart up with healthy food first.

Mayo Clinic has ‘Smart Shopping' tours planned for February and March. The hour long sessions are offered at no cost to you.

To reserve a date and time, call (715) 838-6731.

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