Tips to Make Healthier Food Choices in Grocery Aisles
August 6, 2015
Feeling guilty about feeding your family pizza? I’ll admit that I’ve had mommy guilt over this one, but this weekend I’m planning to enjoy a guilt-free pizza night thanks to a few easy tips I gleaned last week during the Iowa Food & Family Project’s event at Hy-Vee West in Mason City.
“To make homemade pizza healthier, I use a whole wheat crust and replace fatty meats with lean roast beef,” said Megan Conlon, a registered dietician from Hy-Vee West in Mason City, Iowa. Conlon demonstrated how to make a healthier version of pizza during last week’s Recipe Refresh event.
“Everyone thinks chicken is the leanest meat but pork and beef are lean, too,” says Conlon. “Loin equals lean, so shop for beef loin, sirloin and tenderloin. You can buy 85/15 ground beef if you're going to brown it. Once you’ve browned the hamburger, drain off the grease. Next rinse it with water and blot it with paper towels. Plus, you'll save money.”
Conlon’s “refreshed pizza recipe” resulted in a delicious pie full of flavor and loaded with vegetables, which she had sautéed in soybean oil. “Don’t feel like you can only cook with olive oil,” said Conlon. “Soybean oil is versitle and are grown in the United States. Plus, it contains heart healthy Omega 3s and vitamin E is good for your skin.”
While leading a group of bloggers on a tour through the aisles, Conlon showed us how to make healthier choices in the bread and pasta aisles. “If you don't like consistency of whole wheat pasta,” she said, “look for Omega 3 or Smart Taste pasta.”
“Note the difference in fiber between 100 percent Whole Wheat, Split Top Wheat and White Bread,” said Conlon as she held up a loaf of fresh bread. “The labels on the 100% whole wheat bread contains twice as much fiber, which help us feel satisfied longer. Envision how Cheerios in milk expand. That’s what fiber does in our bodies; it fills us up.”
For this same reason, Conlon advised us to look for cereals that contain at least 3 grams of fiber and less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.
Confused about whether to buy fresh, frozen or canned vegetables? Conlon says worry less about the form and just find a way to get more of them on your plate!
“There’s no nutritional difference between fresh, canned or frozen vegetables,” says Conlon. “Be aware, however, of how much sugar and salt you’re getting in your diet. Look for “no salt added” green beans and “no sugar added” applesauce.”
Also note serving sizes. For example, one box of Hamburger Helper is 5 servings! To stick to the suggested serving size, “Choose My Plate.” Fill half your plate with sides of fruits and veggies. Add a little cottage cheese.
Snag your own FREE copy of the new Iowa Food and Family Cookbook next week at the Iowa Food & Family Project’s booth, located in the southeast atrium of the Varied Industries Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. This cookbook features nearly 60 recipes from Iowa bloggers and farm families including pumpkin muffins from Enchanted Acres. It also includes tips on food preparation and safety, meat cuts, healthy eating and exercise.