By DIANE HENDERIKS
Are you confused at the supermarket? It's no wonder, as the average market has more than 35,000 items and not every market has the same 35,000. Americans chose from about 500 or so different foods in the 1900; we choose from more than 50,000 today.
The numbers help to explain why it's so hard to make healthy choices when shopping for food because temptation is everywhere. Foods that are part of a nutritious diet include lean meat-poultry-fish, low-fat dairy, veggies, fruits, beans and other legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
You must have these ingredients on hand at home to cook healthy, and preparing your own meals is key. You want to control the amount of salt, fat and sugar in the food you eat.
Before you venture to the supermarket, go through your cabinets, fridge and pantry. This way you can see what's on hand and what you need to buy. Then make a list and stick to it. I know you're thinking, "Uuugh, she wants me to make a list."
Although it might take a little longer to shop at first, the benefits are well worth it. Here are a few things that making a list will help you to do:
My rule: If it's not on the list, don't buy it. No need for temptation staring you in the face at home.
The periphery of the supermarket has most of the healthiest choices: produce, lean meat-poultry-fish, low-fat dairy and whole-grain breads. Don't stop there. You will find other nutritious foods in the middle aisles, including whole grains, beans, unsweetened cereals, teas, water and flavored seltzers.
Many people purchase a lot of pre-packaged foods for convenience. Some choices are much better than others. Read the labels so you can make the best choices and look for foods with the least amount of salt, fat and sugar. If you can't pronounce the words or they look like Dr. Frankenstein would be using them, don't buy it.
Here are a few terms you might see while surfing the aisles:
Diane Henderiks' Supermarket "7?
Henderiks is a registered dietitian, founder of Dianehenderiks.com and a "Good Morning America" health contributor.