I have heard many credible speakers and authors of books, magazine articles, and websites make bold statements like “Only shop the periphery of the supermarket and stay out of the middle aisles.” I understand the concept here…but c’mon, if you only shop on the edge, you’ll be missing out on a vast array of nutrients and wonderful foods that you and your family can enjoy and benefit from.
Skip the center of the store and here’s a sample of what you’ll also be skipping:
Beans - These cholesterol-lowering wonders are also filled with protein, fiber, and complex carbs and in this economy, you can’t beat the price.
Whole wheat pasta - a great source of whole grains and fiber and readily approved by kids of all ages. To cut portions, combine with lots of veggies and a lean protein.
Canned tomato sauces - loaded with lycopene and an easy way to get your family to get an extra veggie. Try to shoot for the brands with the least ingredients and the lowest in sodium.
Seasonings and spices - these antioxidant rich powerhouses to add zing to your food without reaching for the salt shaker.
Olive and canola oils - known as the “good fats,” these oils are rich in monounsaturated fats and, when used in moderation, are a great substitute for butter and other saturated fats that are not as heart healthy.
Cereals - rich in whole grains and fiber and fortified with a host of vitamins and minerals, cereals can be a great choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. These items are versatile and relatively inexpensive if you count a per serving price and you accompany it with a cup of skim milk (at only 25 cents per cup.) Be sure to read the Nutrition Facts Panel though, to be sure you’re not choosing a cereal that resembles candy instead of a wholesome whole grain carbohydrate.
Dark chocolate (thought I’d just throw in a personal favorite) - may reduce inflammation and play a role in helping your heart. Don’t let the rich flavanoids, however, keep you from paying attention to chocolate’s rich caloric value too, so proceed with caution with this treat, but by all means, add this to your list.
Sparkling water/ tea - dehydration is a huge problem in this country that’s not spoken about nearly as much as it should be. Hopefully this issue will be addressed in our 2010 Dietary Guidelines, but in the meantime…bottoms up!
These items can make beautiful music together with the colorful fruits and veggies, lean meats, low fat dairy items, and whole grain breads that surround them. Why restrict yourself or limit your patients without encouraging exploration of the big picture(whole store) with your guidance. As an ADA Spokesperson, I’ll a big fan of quick tips and sound-bites, but think twice before recommending shopping only in the perimeter. Besides, the more ground you cover…the more exercise you get too!