Buy This, Not That: How to Make Better Choices at the Supermarket
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With all the options at the grocery store, making healthy choices can often seem like a daunting task. But these nine easy swaps will help take the guesswork out of what you put into your cart.
Buy Rotisserie Chicken, Not Cold Cuts
Rotisserie chickens are usually a great deal, beating cold cuts in both price and nutrition. Many cold cuts are processed meats (the kind that aren't great for your health) and often have additives. Remove the skin from rotisserie chicken to save on sodium and saturated fat. Then slice it up for sandwiches, pull it for burritos, or pair it with veggies for a quick snack.
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Buy Salsa, Not Queso Dip
Cheese dip is very processed and mostly adds salt and fat to chips that have ... salt and fat. Salsa, on the other hand, is made of vegetables. So while it's still often salty, you're also getting some nutrients (and far fewer calories), including lycopene — the antioxidant found in tomatoes.
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Buy Hummus, Not Sour Cream Dip
Dip is a great enticement to eat raw vegetables (or crudites, if you're feeling fancy). And while there are plenty of healthy homemade dips you can make, when you're buying premade varieties the options narrow. Hummus is almost always a good bet. It's loaded with fiber and healthy fats, and comes in lots of flavors.
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Buy Plain Yogurt, Not Flavored Yogurt
Boasting probiotics, calcium and protein, yogurt is a great choice. But the flavored varieties often have more sugar than ice cream! Stick with plain yogurt, then add fresh fruit or a spoonful of jam to sweeten it. Or, swap it for mayo and sour cream in dips and use it in place of buttermilk when baking.
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Buy Popcorn, Not Puffs (or Chips)
Popcorn is the hidden health food of the snack aisle, provided you stick to the plain varieties (i.e., not caramel corn or cheese). It's a whole grain, delivering 3 grams of fiber per serving, and a serving size is surprisingly massive (3 cups!). Puffs, on the other hand, offer no fiber — just some salt and fat.
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Buy Shredded Cabbage, Not Iceberg Lettuce
Shredded cabbage (also disguised as coleslaw mix) is one of the best convenience foods you can buy in the supermarket. Ready-to-eat, crunchy and bursting with nutrients, it's a no-contest rival to iceberg lettuce. It gives you lots of vitamin C, plus the same cancer-preventing phytochemicals found in kale and broccoli.
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Buy Light Tuna in Oil, Not Albacore Tuna in Water
When tuna is packed in oil, it retains more of its nutrients than when it's packed in water. It's an excellent source of vitamins D and K and some B vitamins. Plus, light tuna comes from a smaller fish than white — which means it has lower levels of mercury.
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Buy Whole Eggs, Not Egg Whites
Whole eggs really are incredible: They're cheap, offer high-quality protein and contain a bunch of vitamins and minerals. Egg whites, in contrast, have the protein, but hardly any of the other nutrients. Also, while you might prefer the look of brown versus white eggs, they're identical nutritionally (and white eggs are usually cheaper).
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Buy Flavored Seltzer, Not Soda
Cutting back on sweetened beverages is one of the best things you can do for your health. But if you're not the biggest fan of plain water, flavored seltzer can be a good swap for soda. It has zero calories, but comes in lots of appealing flavors, such as vanilla, cherry and melon.
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