Friday, September 18, 2009

Simple Solutions For Making Healthier Food Choices

(NAPSI)-Since the inception of the Nutrition Facts Panel, Americans have clocked many hours in grocery store aisles comparing the nutritional content of food items in an effort to identify the healthiest options. Yet a new survey from Guiding Stars, the world's first storewide nutrition navigation system, found that 67 percent of Americans are only somewhat confident, at best, they can select healthy foods from the Nutrition Facts Panel alone.

"While the Nutrition Facts Panel is essential to help shoppers identify the nutrients in packaged foods, many Americans seek additional ways to help them quickly and easily identify nutritious options," said Tracy Fox, M.P.H, R.D. and member of the Guiding Stars Scientific Advisory Panel.

Here are some time-saving tips and tools to help you make healthier food choices while on the go.

Tackling the supermarket. Knowing how to navigate your local grocery store to locate healthy foods more efficiently is an easy first step toward your nutrition goals. Start with the perimeter of the store to load up on fresh foods--like fruits and vegetables, fish, unprocessed meat, whole grain breads and fat-free or low-fat dairy--and consider minimizing the selection of those processed, high-sugar or high-sodium foods that tend to be found in the center aisles.

Nutrition labeling at a glance. Nutrition labels can be a useful tool to help determine healthy food items, so be sure to take advantage of them. Some supermarkets offer at-a-glance nutrition navigation systems, such as Guiding Stars, which analyze nutrient data obtained from the Nutrition Facts Panel found on food labels and the USDA's National Nutrient Database. Guiding Stars uses a good-better-best rating system that allows you to quickly identify and choose foods that offer the most nutrition for the calories.

Plan meals and make a shopping list. Planning healthy meals and creating a shopping list allows you to shop quickly and efficiently while helping to quell the temptation to purchase less healthy foods out of hunger or fatigue. A list also helps prevent overshopping, which can trigger overeating or wastefulness.

Be sure to take advantage of the nutrition navigation and education tools available to you, either in your local grocery store or online, to help you create a healthy eating plan that works for you and your family. For more information, visit www.guidingstars.com, where you'll find healthy-eating tips and tools, such as a meal planner and nutritious recipes, to help you develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Guiding Stars, the world's first storewide nutrition navigation system, helps shoppers create a healthy eating plan.

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