Grocery stores have oodles of healthy foods. But as you’re strolling aisle after aisle, it can be a challenge to toss the best options in your cart.
Survey says: You’re not alone in wanting healthier options.
Almost all Americans (95 percent) are looking for healthier food options when they shop, but, only about a quarter (28 percent) thought it was easy to find healthy food. That’s according to a recent survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation and the American Heart Association.
It’s no wonder shoppers are overwhelmed. There’s:
- conflicting information in the media and online,
- a variety of labeling claims to decode (Natural! Organic!), and
- choices galore.
Here’s a little help at the grocery store — and more may be on the way.
Nearly half of those surveyed say they frequently look for icons like the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark to choose healthier foods. The Heart-Check Food Certification program criteria are based on sound science for healthy dietary recommendations. They’re also consistent with FDA requirements for health claims. So when you see that iconic red and white check-mark, you can trust that we’ve thoroughly reviewed the product’s nutrition profile to make sure it meets or exceeds our guidelines.
Almost 54 percent of those surveyed also said a universal “healthy” symbol on a food package would help — and the FDA is considering it. Some companies reformulate their products to be eligible for our Heart-Check mark. So an FDA “healthy” symbol could encourage industry to do the same.
Your mission: Lean on the Nutrition Facts Panel.
Here are tips to help you understand and use the Nutrition Facts Panel:
- Start with the serving information at the top. This will tell you the size of a single serving and the total number of servings per container (package).
- Check total calories per serving and container. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients.
- Check key nutrients and understand what you’re looking for. Not all fats are bad, and total sugars can include both natural and added sugars. Limit the amounts of added sugars, saturated fat and sodium, and avoid trans fat.
- Get enough of the beneficial nutrients. This includes calcium, choline, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, D and E.
- Understand % Daily Value. This tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount.
Prepare to succeed.
Prepare your list of food items before you shop. This will help you stay on course for healthy eating. We have plenty Heart-Check mark recipes to change up your menu.
We also got you covered with tips for eating smart that we’ll deliver to your inbox when you sign up here.