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January 22, 2013

Consumers learn healthy-shopping techniques

(Continued)

Smith said he is aware of the importance of cutting down on fat and cholesterol but is always looking at ways to improve his health-related activities.

“One of the things I’ve frequently noticed is the sodium content,” he said. “There is sometimes an amazing amount of sodium, especially in processed foods. The more you can stay away from prepared foods, the better.”

Wayne LaValley of Champlain also got involved in the tour because he does a lot of the family shopping.

“I’m always looking to learn more,” he said of his desire to choose healthy foods. “I have a pretty good idea of what to look for, but I still have some bad habits of choosing what I know I shouldn’t.”

LaValley said it is important to carefully study the ingredients in labels. For instance, he said, it is important to make sure any wheat products chosen are labeled 100 percent whole wheat, which eliminates the potential for not-so-healthy fillers.

“You have to pay attention,” he said.

OUTER WALLS

As the tour began, Snay led the men through the fruits and vegetables section, offering a tip that the healthiest foods are often placed along the outer walls of a grocery store, while the aisles themselves contain many of the prepared or processed foods.

She noted that organic fruits and vegetables differ from other choices because no pesticides were used to grow them, but non-organic fruits and vegetables offer an equal amount of nutritional value.

Taking a look at salad dressings, she noted that fat-free choices often have an increased sodium content.

“Fat tastes good,” she said. “When you take fat out, you need more sodium to replace the lost taste. It’s important to balance the nutritional value of products.”

Products should have fewer than 130 milligrams of sodium per serving, she suggested.

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