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Grocery Cart Makeover

By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., March 20, 2009 - 4:36am

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On the off chance that we run into each other at the grocery store, I guarantee you’ll find me poring over the ingredient list on the back of a package. I love food shopping and often spend hours perusing the aisles in search of the healthiest—and cheapest—items on the shelves. Then I head home to make delicious budget-friendly meals. But when I go to the store with my fiancé (who hates to shop), it has to be a quick in-and-out. Only price comparisons allowed! There’s no time to find the most nutritious cereal, pasta sauce, soup, etc. It’s sooo frustrating!

My savior: The latest rating system to hit supermarkets awards points to foods based on how nutritious they are. This easy-to-use tool allows me to compare foods sitting side-by-side on the grocery shelf.

Here’s how some common items in my grocery cart stack up:

Orange (100) vs. Apple (96)

An orange’s high vitamin C, folate and potassium content give it a perfect score. Apples, high in fiber yet relatively lower in other nutrients, score slightly lower.

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti (91) vs. Spaghetti (49)

Whole-wheat spaghetti has twice as much fiber as white spaghetti. It also contains magnesium and zinc, two nutrients found naturally in whole grains.

Steel-cut oats (60) vs. Honey Nut Instant Oatmeal (28)

The added sugar and salt in honey nut–flavored instant oatmeal bring its score down by more than half.

TAGS: Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., Healthy Cooking Blog

Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
Brierley holds a master’s degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

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