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Make a Healthy Grocery List in Minutes

Healthy eating doesn't start in your kitchen. It begins when you wheel your cart down the aisles of your local supermarket.

Supermarkets can be daunting places. Cookies, candy, and ice cream beckon at every corner. So that you don't get seduced by the snack foods and make impulse purchases you'll later regret, never venture into your local supermarket without first arming yourself with a healthy grocery list.

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Having a well-organized, well-planned grocery list will not only get you in and out of the store quickly (a time management plus), it also will keep your healthy eating plan on track. It's a lot harder to splurge on junk food if it's not in your pantry and fridge.

To help you navigate the endless aisles and shelves of your local supermarket, here are some tips for creating a healthy, well-stocked grocery list. In just a few minutes, you'll have a blueprint for a cart full of groceries that won't bust your budget or diet.

Your Grocery List: Aisle by Aisle

To maximize your time management in the supermarket and the healthfulness of everything you buy, have a plan in place. Organize your grocery shopping list by aisle. Follow these tips for filling that list with the healthiest foods from each aisle.


1. Bakery and Bread

On Your List:

- Whole-wheat bread, pita pockets, and English muffins

- Whole-grain flour tortillas


- Make sure the wheat bread you're buying is really wheat. If "refined wheat flour" is the first ingredient, you're essentially getting souped-up white or refined bread. Look for the words "whole wheat" or "whole wheat flour" as the first ingredient on the label. Whole wheat flour contains the bran and germ of the grain.

- Choose whole-grain breads that contain at least 3 to 4 grams of fiber and have fewer than 100 calories per slice.


2. Meat and Seafood

On Your List:

- Skinless chicken or turkey breasts

- Ground turkey or chicken

- Salmon, halibut, trout, mackerel

- Reduced-sodium lunch meat (turkey, roast beef)


- If you buy red meat, choose the leanest cuts -- ones with very little visible marbling.

- Eat ground chicken or ground turkey breast instead of ground beef. These are much lower in fat. Or try tofu or vegetarian meat substitutes. Get creative with the condiments and you’ll get flavor without the fat.

- Measure out your meat and chicken. Protein portion sizes should be about the size of a deck of cards. By using your plate as your guide, in a balanced meal, proteins should be about a quarter of the plate.


3. Pasta and Rice

On Your List:

- Brown rice

- Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta


4. Oils, Sauces, Salad Dressings, and Condiments

On Your List:

- Tomato sauce

- Mustard

- Barbecue sauce

- Red-wine vinegar

- Salsa

- Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil, nonfat cooking spray

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