Smart grocery shopping

Shopping for groceries can be overwhelming with all the aisles and the amount of products on each shelf. Explore techniques to use when grocery shopping to make sure the most nutritious products end up in your cart.

It is important to shop the outside edges of the store.  According to Michigan State University Extension, most of the fresh, nutrition dense food can be found there. These departments include fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, and frozen foods. The outer perimeter departments focus around the five major food groups: milk, fruit and vegetables, protein and grains.

Filling our cart at the grocery store should mirror what we will be eating at the dinner table with our family. Staying away from chips, sugary snacks and highly processed foods will help us reach the goal of serving a good, well balanced nutritious meal to our family.

Some grocery stores are using a tool called the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System that determines the nutritional value of food. The NuVal system gives food products a number from 1 to 100. A product like cookies has the number 3 and fresh spinach has the number 100. These numbers are located right next to the price on the shelf and can be used to compare foods next to each other. The higher the number, the better the food is for you. A team of recognized medical and nutrition experts, led by Dr. David Katz of the Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center, was the backbone of getting this system developed to help improve public health.

There are currently no retail stores in Michigan that provide the NuVal numbers system. If you are interested in learning more about this nutritional scoring system, visit the Nuval website.

To find out more information about cooking or nutritional programs in your local community contact your local MSU Extension office.

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