Life stage, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and personal decisions – all of these factors have an impact on the food choices we make. But outside influences aside, we must remember that everything we eat and drink matters. The secret to making better choices? Focus on food variety, amount, and nutritional quality.
The grocery store can be a tricky place to navigate. Here are a few ways to make smarter decisions down the aisles:
It takes a few minutes, but saves time spent running back to the store for missing ingredients. Check out our Get Healthy Recipes for new meal ideas.
Create an inventory so you know what you have on hand. Our Healthy Pantry Guide lists some staples you’ll need to whip up a healthy meal, anytime.
This makes shopping trips more efficient and prevents impulse buying. The Healthy Shopping List is a convenient way to organize what you need.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish are usually located on the outer edges of the store. Avoid the center aisles where junk food lurks.
An empty stomach can lead to unhealthy impulse buys.
Check food labels to compare nutritional values of products and make healthy choices.
Check out our virtual grocery store tours.
Would you sit down and eat 10 teaspoons of sugar? If you drink a 12 oz. can of regular soda, you might as well be. Sugary beverages such as sodas, sports drinks, sweetened coffee, energy drinks and even sweetened teas and fruit juices when overly consumed can lead to weight gain, tooth decay and osteoporosis.
Sweeteners that add calories to a beverage go by many different names and are not always obvious. Some common caloric sweeteners are listed below. If these appear in the ingredients list of your favorite beverage, you are drinking a sugary beverage.
Be a role model for your friends and family by choosing healthy, low-calorie beverages like:
Add citrus or sliced cucumbers to your water. Try some of these great flavored water recipes as well to mix it up a bit!
Sweet, full of vitamins and counts as a serving of fruit.
Packed with flavor; high in vitamins C, A, and potassium and around 50 calories per cup.
High in calcium and protein—and you need both. You could also try soy milk, rice milk or almond milk.
Creamy and sweet, high in calcium and only about 170 calories per cup.
Get a boost on less than five calories per cup, plus it’s high in antioxidants.
Download our Sugary Beverage Fact Sheet to learn more.
Most Americans eat too much sodium (salt) without even knowing it. The average adult consumes about 3,400 mg/day which is much higher than the recommended 2,300 mg. Too much sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack and stroke.
Adults, in general, should consume no more than 2,300 mg/day. However, if you are in one of the following groups, you should consume no more than 1,500 mg/day:
Americans’ sodium intake breaks down like this:
Even if you never use the salt shaker, you’re probably getting too much sodium. Look for sodium content on all food labels, but especially on these common products:
Try fresh or dried herbs, spices, vinegar, and citrus to season your foods instead of salt. The CDC has tips to increase flavor without using salt.
Fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, and meats are naturally lower in sodium than canned foods. Join our Nutrition Challenge to increase your fruit and vegetable intake.
Gradually cut back on the amount of salt you add to your food. Your taste buds will adjust and you may even prefer less salt.
If you buy canned foods, check the label and pick foods with the lowest level of sodium. Rinse canned goods before using to remove additional sodium.
Always make sure to read food labels so you know exactly how much sodium is in the product you are buying.