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Making healthy choices at the grocery store

Junk in the car trunk

Nowadays, a trip to the supermarket can be quite a trip! With so many companies selling foods with no this and less that, it can be quite difficult to figure out what's really healthy -- or not -- for your children. Next thing you know, you're pulling out of the supermarket parking lot with just a bunch of junk in your car trunk.

Junk in the car trunk

Nowadays, a trip to the supermarket can be quite a trip! With so many companies selling foods with no this and less that, it can be quite difficult to figure out what's really healthy -- or not -- for your children. Next thing you know, you're pulling out of the supermarket parking lot with just a bunch of junk in your car trunk.

If your child expresses a lack of attention in school and has less energy at home, you should look at their diet more closely. Many times it's the lack of nutritious food that's causing a child to act in this manner. We may think we're buying healthy food for our families at the supermarket, but product labels can be misleading. Sometimes, just going back to the basics is a great way to eat right and stay on track. Below I offer some of my grocery shopping tips for a healthier home.

Gluten free

We're seeing more and more products labeled "gluten free." If your child has low energy and is not eating gluten free products, give them a try in your household and you'll probably see a difference.

Sugar free

This can be one of the most misleading labels on a product at a supermarket. While the food may not have been made with traditional sugar, it can have a sugar substitute that can still be problematic. If your child wants some cookies as a treat, I suggest picking up ones that are fruit juice sweetened. Also, look for the cookies with no trans fat and no hydrogenated oil.

Green is good

Green vegetables are hands down the way to go! If you're trying to lower your child's sugar intake, stay away from colored veggies like carrots and beets. Instead, grab some green ones like kale, broccoli, zucchini, spinach and others.

No sampling

The samples set-up is a dangerous place in any supermarket for someone who is trying to be healthy. It always seems that cheese is being offered almost every time I go to a grocery store. Also, the food is being exposed to germs because of all the passerby traffic, so keep your kids away.

Vitamin D

Calcium and Vitamin D are important for your child's growth. Many children like yogurt for breakfast or as a snack. Stay away from the ones with fruit at the bottom. Instead, pick a plain yogurt and put your own fresh berries in it with some cinnamon. This will give a better taste and be much healthier.

A prize isn't

If you're walking down a supermarket aisle and the cereal box that you're looking at offers a free prize, it's not the right choice. Those sugary cereals are not what's best to get your household going first thing in the morning.

Stock-up on health

Healthier foods can be more expensive, so it's important to take advantage of sales at your local grocery store. If you use a particular packaged product all of the time and it happens to be on sale, pick up a few extra.

A healthy home

Pick up cleaning products at the store that are environmentally friendly. You'll be surprised at the difference it can make, especially when it comes to washing dishes for the kids and its effect on your hands. Keep an eye out for sales on these items too.

Fresh fruit

If your child wants to get their daily fruit from the middle of a raspberry Pop-Tart, there's a problem. Stick to fresh fruit, which can be a really great snack and a natural pick-me-up.

Check out

When you're headed to the check-out lane and you're waiting in line, take a look inside your cart at everything you picked up. If your cart is filled with more packaged goods rather than fresh ones, you may want to reassess your choices. If fresh food is available, why would you go any other route?

Read more on healthy eating habits for kids

10 Healthiest foods your kids should be eating
5 Fun ways to get kids to eat healthy foods
5 Tips for encouraging kids to eat healthy

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