Super Shopping Tips for When You’re Counting Calories

By Dr. Jean Harvey, Ph.D., R.D., Joyce Hendley, M.S., EatingWell Editors, "Aisle by Aisle: A Supermarket Buying Guide," The EatingWell Diet (2007)

How to stay on course in the 6 major aisles of the supermarket.

2. Poultry/Fish/Meat

If convenience is all-important, go for skinless poultry cuts and boneless for quickest cooking. You’ll save some calories and fat by choosing white meat over dark, too—but don’t sweat the difference if you’re planning to broil or grill; most of the fat will drip off anyway. For ground chicken or turkey, make sure you’re getting lean breast meat without skin added (read the label).

In the fish department, you can opt for white-fleshed fish for fewest calories, but don’t forget fatty fish like salmon or tuna, which contain omega-3 fatty acids that dramatically lower your risk of heart attack and stroke if eaten regularly; just choose a moderate portion to keep a lid on calories. Ask which fish is freshest (or check the Date Packed if it’s precut) and reject anything that looks suspect or smells fishy (if it’s wrapped in plastic, fillets should be firm to the touch, with no liquid in the package—a sign of improper thawing). Frozen fish is just fine—and sometimes it’s the “freshest” choice. Just be sure to thaw it properly: overnight in the refrigerator.

Many successful weight-loss veterans make red meat a special-occasion rather than daily purchase, since it’s higher in saturated fat. Look for cuts with “loin” or “round” in the title, and select well-trimmed cuts with the least visible fat. Choose ground beef labeled “90% lean” or higher.

Next: 3. Dairy »

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