Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Grocery Shopping September 20, 2011

Grocery shopping can be tricky, especially since there are so many labels with the words, “100% Whole Grain,” “All Natural,” “Fat-free” or other eye-catching advertising. It can also be difficult to get in and out of the store with exactly what you need when you have a little one (or two) in tow. With Keenan almost two years old (can you believe it?), he loves to help me grocery shop by picking the produce or other items and putting them into our cart. I call him my “Little Shopper Helper.” It’s a great teaching moment for him to learn about all of the healthy food we are putting into our cart. On another note, I find that it helps him eat his veggies (he is excited to try them), since he helped picked them out at the store (a nice bonus!).

Shopping wisely through label reading is one key to keeping your weight in check and staying fit.  Labels can tell you a lot about a food and most importantly, identify if it is healthy. With so many processed foods on the market, it is crucial to look at the labels to see what you are putting into your body.

Below are some tips on what to look for when reading labels.

Serving Size: Always follow the serving size, as this will not only help to keep portions in check when you serve the food, but it can save you money. For example, how many of you follow the serving size on a box of cereal? Most people just dump the cereal into their bowl until it looks like a good amount. If you are guilty of this, you are probably consuming 2 – 2 ½ servings, which is almost triple the amount of calories and costing you more!

Total Calories: The total calories and serving size go hand-in-hand. You want to see how much bang for your calories you are getting. The greater the serving size for a low amount of calories, the better. But, in general, you want to look for products that have a low amount of calories, preferably less than 250 for any one food item per serving size.

Cholesterol: Cholesterol is made from animal products (anything that has a liver). The more you consume, the greater the chance it has to sticking to your arteries, thus increasing our cholesterol levels. Aim for 0 mg of cholesterol, but no more than 5 mg per serving.

Sodium: The daily recommended allotment for sodium is 2,300 mg (one teaspoon of salt), which is not very much. Sodium not only makes you retain water, but it can make it difficult to lose weight, not to mention increase cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Aim for less than 200 mg for any one food item per serving.

Fiber: The nutrition powerhouse. Fiber does wonders for many things: controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels, in addition to keeping you regular. The more fiber you consume, the better. Aim for something that contains more than 4 grams.

Sugar: Sugar seems to be in almost every food product these days, whether it is “evaporated cane juice”, high fructose corn syrup, plain sugar, cane sugar, etc. The recommended daily sugar allotment for a 1,600-calorie diet, for example, is 22 grams, so aim for less than 6 grams for any one food item per serving. Better yet, look for items with no added sugar.

Trans Fats: Trans fats are hydrogenated oils that are put into food as a preservative to have a longer shelf life. The fats only clog arteries and increase cholesterol levels. Look for foods without trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients.

Ingredients: Look at the ingredients: how many do you recognize? If you only recognize a couple and the rest are names you can’t pronounce, move to the next food item; you probably don’t want to put those chemicals/preservatives in your body.


3 Responses to “Grocery Shopping”

  1. Pam Niehues Says:


  2. Pam, I can only imagine how challenging it is to stock 3 kitchens and satisfy the most pickiest of eaters! Keenan went through a phase of not wanting to eat any vegetables and it drove me nuts! Finally, he came around and eats anything that we eat. But, when he didn’t want to eat any veggies, I found the HappyTot Fruit and Veggie pouches ( at the grocery store one day and tried them, SUCCESS! Keenan loved them (and he still does!). These pouches are not that expensive and are packed full of nutrition! Since they are in pouch form, kids also find them fun to eat (making for great snacks). You can purchase the pouches in bulk for a cheaper price on Amazon, if you are interested. In addition, have you heard of the cookbook, “Deceptively Delicious,” written by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld’s wife)? She has some great recipes for ordinary things, such as macaroni and cheese or muffins that include hidden vegetable purees. She has a website and blog you can check out: But, if that seems too much, below are some great sites that offer easy kid-friendly recipe/meal ideas. Good luck!

    Playing Kitchen:
    Kids Health:
    Eating Well:

  3. Pam Niehues Says:

    Grocery shopping is always a chore for me since I have to shop for 25 kids and a barn full of beer drinking men. At the preschool and day care I shop following my weekly menu, the menu is turned in to children services so we can get reimbursed for our meals. It’s very confusing at times when I have to stock up for 3 kitchens at once, but finding things that 3 to 6 years olds will eat and following restrictions is also confusing. I have a problem with being creative with my meals with the kids, finding that I am serving the same things. Each group of children have different taste buds to satisfy, do you have any sugestions for the picky eater? Last school year and it seems like I have 1 each year we label picky. This individual last year would eat grilled cheese sandwhich or chicken nuggets, no fruit or veggies, milk and no juices, we would try to introduce other foods to no avail. We went on an outing and I packed fruit snacks and we found out he liked fruit snacks, which I hardly ever buy, but an outing to the park it was easier to pack that day, I froze some fruit juice popcycles and he ate that. Got any suggestions for the picky eater? At home he was eating nothing but junk food, candy and potatoes chips. Oh and he would eat top ramen by the bowls full. We fed him this because he would not eat anything all day!

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