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6. Make a Quick Stop for Whole Grain Breads and Rolls

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend half your grains be whole grain. That doesn’t mean you have to give up white bread, says Neville. “White whole wheat” is fine as long as you keep trying to encourage your family to move toward heartier 100% whole grains. 

The same advice holds when choosing cereals and pasta. Look for blends of whole-wheat pasta and bran or high-fiber cereal.

For the occasional treat, pick up some whole grain blueberry muffins or baked sweet.

7. Then Head for the Grocery Store Center Aisles

Stock your cart with whole grain cereals, crackers, brown rice, and any other whole grains your family will enjoy.  Toss in canned and dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas, which are all excellent sources of protein and fiber without any fat. 

Canned foods tend to be high in sodium, so buy reduced-sodium or no-added-salt versions. You can reduce the sodium content of canned beans by as much as 40% by thoroughly rinsing the beans.  When choosing canned fruits, select ones packed in fruit juice instead of syrup to save calories.

Other nutritious center-store foods include nut butters, 100% fruit juice, and healthy snacks such as popcorn, nuts, and dried fruit.

 “There is a misconception that healthy foods are only on the perimeter of the grocery store, but that is false,” says Neville. “The interior aisles are brimming with many healthy choices alongside the not-so-healthy ones.”

8. Last Stop: The Frozen Food Aisle

Frozen foods are cost-effective choice and sometimes even healthier than fresh food. For example: Vegetables are picked at their prime nutrient content, then quickly frozen. They don’t lose nutrients like fresh vegetables may during transportation or while in your refrigerator bin.  

 “Save money and reduce waste by always having plain frozen vegetables and fruits on hand” says Ward.  She prefers the resealable bags that allow you to only use as much as needed. 

You can also find healthy frozen meals, fish, vegetarian foods, whole grain waffles and rolls, and 100% fruit juice. 

Don’t forget dessert! Low-fat ice cream and sorbets are good choices.

Make frozen foods your last destination in the grocery store and go directly home to store them properly so they don’t defrost.

Your grocery cart should be full by now, with nutritious food as well as healthy snacks and treats.   

Remember, all foods can fit into a healthy diet as long as you control the portions, and make sure treats don’t get in the way of healthy meals.