Smart Shopping for Healthy Food

April 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Creating healthy meals and snacks can be a challenge for busy families. And while fast food is sometimes a quicker and cheaper option, that convenience can add up to calories you didn't count on.R.J. McCoy is having a great time on his track team. The 11 year old is running faster these days after losing 20 pounds.

R.J. slimmed down after his mother signed him up for the Fresno healthy lifestyle fitness camp. Families are encouraged to exercise more and make better food choices.

They taught you how to cook right and stuff

For this busy single mom, it can be a struggle to avoid fast food. "It's extremely hard I think because you get home late everybody gets home late and sometimes it's cheaper to buy a 5 dollar pizza but we try," Arlene Medina said.

Fresno state registered dietician Lisa Herzig says with a little planning you can buy nutritious food without breaking the bank. Before doing your shopping, decide on a budget, take inventory of what you have at home, and if you shop monthly, divide your food dollars into envelopes.

"You take that money aside and you take that amount of cash and you put it in the envelope so you know when you come to the grocery store that's all you have to spend," Fresno State Dietician Dr. Lisa Herzig said. "Forget about pre-cut foods, they're convenient but not for your wallet."

If you were to compare the prices the lettuce in the long run cheaper than the bagged lettuce that's already washed for you

It would say you could save about 20 to 25 percent cost savings. Save cash by buying store brands versus name brands that can cut your bill by at least 25%.

"As far as some of the sauces, some of the dips is what we really need to do is use a liquid vegetable oil because that's going to save on the amount of the bad kinds of fats for us you can control the amount of fat you use as opposed to using the traditional lard or shortening or those kinds of foods," Herzig said.

Beware of the cheap snack. A 12 ounce can of Pepsi has 9 and 1/2 teaspoons of sugar. This chocolate bar has 8 teaspoons

"The Hershey bar basically is going to make your blood sugar levels go really high the body is going to come in and gobble up all that sugar and it's going to go lower than it was to begin with and so guess what happens? The child is going to be hungrier than they were to begin with."

Dr. Herzig says the best way to get kids to make healthier choices is to give them hands on experience.

"Taking the kid to the farm market, taking the kid to the grocery store making them part of meal planning, making them part of cooking," Herzig said.

R.J.'s mother is doing just that. Her son and his friends are getting a kick out of making a fruit parfait.

The battle against childhood obesity is getting stronger.


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