The Clash's 1979 song "Lost in the Supermarket" may be more of a metaphorical commentary on how consumerism fails to provide meaning in our lives than a song about actually getting lost in a supermarket, but nevertheless I often find myself humming it when I'm perusing grocery shelves and can't remember what I came in for.
To help befuddled shoppers like myself, the Sarasota County office of the Univeristy of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is launching a new blog series called "Grocery Shopping for Your Health." Posts in the series will be published every Tuesday and Friday, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 28, and, over time, they will take you on a tour of a typical grocery store, offering tips on how to identify nutritious items, save money and reduce the amount of food you waste.
"It's about selecting items in the grocery store with a focus on creating healthier eating patterns that include foods that are nutrient-dense, low in calories, but that have a high amount of vitamins, minerals and fibers," says Maria Portelos-Rometo, the institute's family and consumer sciences agent, who is authoring the new series.
Portelos-Rometo shared five quick tips that demonstrate some of what the new blog will cover:
Put Fruit in the Refrigerator Without Washing It First
To prevent your fruits from decaying too soon, when you arrive home from the store, place your fruit directly into the refrigerator without washing it first. Fruit has a natural protective coating that protects it from early rotting. Washing the fruit before placing it into the refrigerator also promotes decays because of the moisture level left on the fruit. Bottom line: Wash fruit under fresh, cold water just before eating.
Choose a colorful variety of fruits, because each can provide different nutrients. Don't be shy about trying something new. Buy one piece and try it. Perhaps you'll get hooked on something new and different.
Don't Skip the Frozen Food Section
To cut costs, if you are searching for a particular vegetable and you can't find it because it's out of season, try the frozen food section or even the canned or jarred varieties. They provide year-round availability for many seasonal products.
Pass on Breaded or Fried Foods
Want a healthier choice but don't have time to scan labels? Skip breaded or fried foods, which add calories and fat.
Buy in Bags Rather Than Boxes
Buy frozen fruits and vegetables in bags rather than boxes, when possible. This way you can use what you want, seal the bag and store the rest for later.
The new blog series will launch Tuesday, Sept. 28. You can read the posts here.