A Little Help From the Grocery Store!

Some grocery stores make it easier for their customers to make healthier food selections. I applaud their effort. 

In our area, Kroger and Meijer provide customers a quick, easy way to evaluate the nutritional value of foods using the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System. This nutrition model rates each food on a simple scale of 1 to 100; the higher the number, the healthier the food choice. Look for the double hexagon mark labeled on the shelf tabs that indicates price. It's an easy way to compare similar products allowing you to purchase more nutritious foods. 

If you take the time to look, it's simple, quick and effective. For example, do you go with Lays Potato Chips for your snack with a NuVal of 17, or apricots with a NuVal of 100? No matter what you pick, you have more information on it's nutritional impact on your health. At the fresh meat counter, pork shoulder ribs come in at 25, skinless turkey breast 48, and salmon scores 87. 

Another gold start goes to our local Mejier. They've been undergoing major renovations recently and I love what they've done with the produce section: a huge selection of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables nicely displayed under non-glare lighting. Signs above each item provides a NuVal score right next to the price tag. One really fun area is just for kids: a healthy snack area at just their height.
Yesterday, four bins were nicely displayed under the sign"Fresh Market for Kids, Have a Healthy Snack." The bins filled with little red boxes of raisins, apricots, bananas, and pears looked very appealing. This certainly beats one grocery store that I remember shopping in when my kids were little. They provided every child a great, big cookie at the bakery just for asking. Ouch. And how many parents did I see simply telling their kids to sit in the cart and if they were "good" they'd get that cookie? That's definitely not a reward system to instill in our youth.  Many people I've worked with are still trying to get a handle on what they learned in childhood: good behavior gets sweets; bad behavior doesn't. Do yourself and the next generation a favor and find fun, non-edible rewards.

I developed the Fruit Game with my daughter when she was little. Every trip to the grocery store we made, she was allowed to choose one fruit of her choice. This was her special fruit. We bought only one kiwi that week if that's what she wanted that she would eat when she got home. She was a great little shopper and could wait to get in that cart and head to the produce section. I was constantly amazed at how many different choices she made, though plums were certainly a frequent choice. I should point out that I never tied the Fruit Game to behavior to avoid the food is a reward trap that is so easy to fall into. Food nourishes your body and should not be used as a reward.

Make your next grocery shopping trip a bit healthier:
  • Look for the NuVal system or something similar that can help you make healthier choices.
  • Anticipate the produce section and take great joy in selecting your favorite fruits and vegetables each and every time you shop!