A Balanced Shopping Cart = Balanced Meals

What ends up on your plate starts with what you put into your shopping cart, says Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Wallinger, a dietitian with the Navy Physical Readiness Office in her article Balance Your Shopping Cart, Plate. She suggests a shopping strategy will help you get the best food for your money. “Shopping the perimeter of the store is where you will find the least processed food,” said Wallinger, “That’s where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy and lean protein.” Wallinger stressed focusing on a balanced plate rather than a diet plan. She recommended that half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. Some shopping tips:

  •   In-season vegetables will generally have more flavor and are usually less expensive
  • Save money and calories by eating before you go shopping to lessen temptations for snack foods
  • Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables without added salt and sugar can help you meet your daily requirements.
  • Compare food labels and choose foods with fewer ingredients and lower sodium.

Fill one quarter of your plate with grains. Choosing at least 50% of your grains as whole grains increasesthe nutritional value of your foods and keeps you more satisfied. The final quarter is for a serving of lean protein such as poultry, meat, eggs, beans, or seafood. “Perhaps the most important thing to do before you shop,” Wallinger says, “is to plan ahead. Make a list from your menu and stick to it. As much as 50 percent of most shopping carts are filled with impulse buys.” Be mindful of what goes onto your plate! For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com

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