8 Ways to Shop and Eat Healthy
Megan Hanrahan, the dietitian at Dave's Fresh Marketplace, loves helping people choose foods that are good for them (and delicious!). One of Megan’s favorite parts of her job at Dave's—a Rhode Island supermarket chain—is doing the “Walk, talk, and taste tours” that she created.
Megan develops nutrition facts for Dave's prepared foods and creates healthy food options. To help you choose and cook healthy foods, Megan shared these tips.
- Make a list before you shop.
“Healthy eating really starts with meal planning,” said Megan. “Decide on a few meals you want to make for the week and add those ingredients to your list. A list also helps you save money by avoiding impulse buys.”
- Check the nutrition label.
Lots of foods claim to be healthy, but are they? Megan recommends reading the nutrition facts label. “Choose foods with a short list of ingredients that you recognize and that are lower in sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugars."
- Consult your cupboard.
“You don’t need to make gourmet meals,” said Megan. “Try to use what you have on hand. For example, you can make vegetables with whole grains and then add it to the top of a salad or serve with chicken.”
- Don’t forget about frozen.
If you have frozen vegetables on hand, you can have them on your plate in minutes. “You can add them to a stir fry, put them in pasta, or just have them with your meal,” said Megan. “You can also cook and freeze whole grains, like quinoa and barley, then reheat them with a little water.”
- Eat the rainbow.
Different-colored fruits and vegetables have different vitamins and minerals, so it’s important to eat a variety. “For kids, it can be fun to make a rainbow on their plate for lunch,” said Megan.
- Bring on the beans.
“Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and they’re also low in fat and calories,” said Megan. “You can buy canned beans, rinse them, and add them to salad, pasta, burritos, or soups.”
- Taste it before you salt it.
Before Dave’s, Megan worked in a hospital cardiac unit. “I often helped people lower the amount of salt in their diet. I always recommend that people taste their food before adding salt or that they avoid salt by using fresh herbs or salt-free lemon and herb seasoning.”
- Have healthy snacks on hand.
“If I get home from work, I don’t just want to grab just anything to eat,” said Megan. “So I keep canned tuna on hand mixed with two tablespoons salad dressing and eat that with a few crackers.” Other snacks ideas include cut-up vegetables, hummus, and plain yogurt with fruit.
Dave's turkey meatballs with vegetable noodles
1 lb. ground turkey
¼ cup almond flour or flour of your choice
2 Tbsp. fresh basil (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. dried oregano
1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. vegetable noodles (see note)
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
Tomato sauce, no added sugar, low in salt
Fresh basil to taste
Heat oven to 400°F. Mix ingredients from turkey to black pepper in a large bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and form meatballs about 1” wide.
Bake for 15 minutes, then switch oven to broil, and cook for an additional 3 minutes. While meatballs are cooking, sauté vegetable noodles in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. Warm tomato sauce in a pan, then serve meatballs over noodles with tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh basil.
Note: You can make your own vegetable noodles by cutting long, thin strips of vegetable like zucchini, peppers, or carrots. Or buy frozen noodles that are 100% vegetables.
Nutrition facts: 233 calories, 12.7 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 77 mg cholesterol, 383 mg sodium, 11 g total carbohydrate, 24 g protein