11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 Atlanta health, diet and fitness news
Marcus Amison chooses items on his electronic shopping list, then uses a UPC scan program on a smartphone phone to verify the item before putting it in his cart. Amison, 27, is an independent contractor for Instacart. Amison is a chef and augments his income with part-time work for Instacart.
Healthy eating starts with your grocery cart. After all, the foods you purchase are the ones you'll prepare and eat. Making solid shopping choices is about what you avoid and what you choose, according to registered dietitian Juliana Nagy, who has a private practice in Sandy Springs.
"I love the fact that we can find almost anything we ever dreamed of as children at the grocery store," she said. "But we are being offered man-made, genetically modified foods with unpronounceable and endless ingredients and that is not good."
So Nagy recommended avoiding the snack aisle.
"The less you wander around the inner part of the grocery, the healthier you will be," she said. "Those aisles, especially the cereal and snacks aisles, are mostly loaded with highly processed, sugary, fatty and high-calorie junk food."
Within those aisles, Nagy also said to avoid any packaged foods with more than five ingredients. "And those should be ones you can easily pronounce," she said.
Nagy does note that there are some nutritious foods on the inner aisles, notably high-fiber cereals, dried beans, nuts, quinoa, rice, dried fruits, olive and coconut oil and whole wheat pasta.
"For a healthy eating plan and a healthier lifestyle, fill your cart with mainly fresh foods," she said. "You can find them at the perimeter of most grocery stores, which is usually the location of the produce, meat, vegan/vegetarian and dairy sections. When you focus on the perimeter of the grocery store, you might be tempted to try new, healthier options."
The American Heart Association has warned against another grocery aisle: the bakery section. AHA's website advises shoppers to limit the amount of bakery products purchased, including doughnuts, pies, cakes and cookies. Instead, AHA recommended selecting fat-free or low-fat and low-sodium varieties of crackers, snack chips, cookies.
And the AHA also has warned against buying lots of fruit juice, because it doesn't provide the fiber of whole fruit and it's not as good at satisfying hunger.