Weight Loss Program, Part 7: Grocery Shopping & Modifying Recipes - Activities

By Kathleen Goodwin, RD

ACTIVITY 1: Brand name nutritional comparisons of food in your grocery store

A specialty of the fun Nutrition Action Healthletter is to analyze food products for their nutritional content and to conduct brand-by-brand comparisons. This helps health-conscious consumers make wiser choices at their own supermarket. Some of the brand name products and foods the Nutrition Action Health Letter has analyzed so far are: yogurts, soups, luncheon meats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, cereals, bread, margarines, frozen desserts, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and energy bars. Take a look at these fun graphs and reports and get an idea of the brand name products that are your most healthful choices. Then, add the most nutritious products to your grocery list to save yourself from the extra time it takes to read labels and comparison shop. The following articles have already done the label reading and comparison-shopping for you.

Web Site Activity: Click on the links below to see the nutrition information for different food products on a brand-by-brand basis.

  • Yogurt brand-name comparison
  • Soups brand-name comparison
  • Sandwich cold-cuts and spreads brand-name comparison
  • Bacon, hot dog and sausage brand-name comparison
  • Margarine and baked goods brand-name comparison
  • Hot cereals brand-name comparison
  • Breads brand-name comparison
  • Frozen desserts brand-name comparison
  • Fruits - A comparison of the most and least nutritious
  • Vegetables - A comparison of the most and least nutritious
  • Cheeses – Nutrition Information
  • Energy Bars – Brand Name Comparison

ACTIVITY 2: Modify a recipe to be more healthy

In this exercise, you'll experiment with one of your favorite, (but likely high-fat or less than nutritious) recipes. By using the recipe modification suggestions this week, you'll take your calorie-laden, decadent recipe and transform it into a lighter, more nutritious, and hopefully still delicious, treat.

Step 1

Search your recipe files for a favorite meal, snack or dessert.

Step 2

Use the recipe modification list in Part 7 to substitute the lower-fat and lower calorie ingredients for the higher-fat, higher-calorie ingredients in your recipe. Also, look for ways to make your recipe more nutritious, and not just lower fat, as well. For instance, could you substitute whole wheat flour for white flour?

Step 3

Create your lower-calorie, lower-fat version of the recipe. How does it taste? Is the flavor still good? How about the texture? Would you make it again? Which ingredients did you modify from the original recipe to make the new, lighter recipe?

Step 4

Be conscientious of recipe modifications each time you cook. Remember there are often numerous creative ways to trim down the fat and calorie content of a recipe and still add flavor. Also, be conscientious about how to increase the nutritiousness of a recipe. For example, try whole-wheat flour for ½ the amount of white flour required. There are many things you can do to make a recipe lighter and healthier.

For Further Reading: Nutrition Action Health Letter
The multiple articles below offer guidelines and advice for making healthier choices in various ethnic restaurants. Click on your favorites to find out more.

  • 50's Restaurant Food (Comfort Food)
  • Greek Food
  • Breakfast Foods
  • Mexican Food
  • Italian Food
  • Chinese Food
  • Nutrition Action Health Letter – Fast Food Follow-Up: What's Left to Eat
  • How to make the healthiest choices in fast food restaurants. Includes a chart with nutritional information and the most nutritious choices from fast food establishments.
  • FDA - "The Food Label"
    This article has everything you want to know about food labels, ingredients and claims, from the creators of it all - The Food and Drug Administration.

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