In a sea of products and labels, it's easy to get lost when it comes to healthy food choices. That's where the grocery list comes in. We have some "simple solutions" to make your grocery list healthier right now.
Hillsboro mom, Laura Larsen has a family of five to feed and goes grocery shopping every week. She tries to make healthy choices for her family while sticking to a budget.
We met both Larsen and Melissa Jacobson, a dietitian and diabetes educator with the Legacy Weight and Diabetes Institute for some "simple solutions" to making your grocery store list healthier now.
First things first: think colors.
"The more vibrant colors, the better. So, if you've got blueberries, raspberries for example, foods really rich colors that means they just have more vitamins and antioxidants in them," said Jacobson.
And, when thinking about fruit, Jacobson said the more the natural option, the better.
"You've got the most fiber, so eating an apple is better than apple sauce, pears are one of the highest fiber fruits out there," Jacobson said to Larsen while pointing to the vegetables and walking with a cart.
Next on Larsen's grocery list: salad ingredients.
"Normally I get a green leaf lettuce and I know that darker leaves are better and iceberg is kinda tasteless. My family's kind of used to it at this point," said Larsen with a laugh. "Great. There should always be lots of color in a salad, red peppers, rich greens. You [can add] Spinach to mix in your salad," suggested Jacobson.
And, when it comes to potatoes: Jacobson said skin is in. She said the skin left on will mean more fiber than a peeled potato. Yams and red potatoes are even better because, again think color.
Speaking of fiber, Jacobson said there's a magic number. "When something is high fiber it's got three grams or more," she said.
And, where you shop matters too. Jacobson said she always advises her clients to shop the perimeter of a grocery store. She said that's where you'll find the healthiest food. "It's the middle aisles where the chips, sodas and cookies are. It's going to be in the middle [of the store]," said Jacobson.
On Larsen's list there weren't too many boxed foods and Jacobson said that is great.
Take a look at your shopping cart, she said and as a rule of thumb, try to only have three to five items in a box. "I mean, look at your cart. It's fresh meats, it's fresh fruits and vegetables. It's not eating many things out of the box," she said.
One more thing: It's not just food you have to watch out for on your list.
"When you look at people taking ion extra calories, 50% percent of it is coming from liquids," said Jacobson.
Jacobson added that tomatoes in any form are a good choice.
She said Larsen gets an "A+" on her grocery list. "It's healthy," she said.
On our facebook page, we've been talking about people's healthiest grocery store picks.
We've had more than 150 ideas and you could use it as a virtual shopping list.
Head there, to share your own simple solutions.