When you go grocery shopping, start by making a list. Write down the things you will need to make healthier meals and snacks. When you get to the store, read food labels to help you choose foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Also look for foods that are high in fiber. Here are some ideas for healthy foods to buy.

Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta

  • Whole-grain breads and rolls.
  • English muffins and bagels.
  • Whole wheat pita bread.
  • Corn tortillas or rice cakes.
  • Oatmeal and high fiber cold cereals.
  • Rice and other grains, such as bulgur, couscous, corn grits, kasha and millet.
  • Spaghetti, macaroni and noodles.
  • Low-fat crackers, pretzels, and matzo.

Limit donuts, muffins and pastries.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Canned fruit in light syrup
  • Fresh vegetables (try ready-cut to save time)
  • Frozen vegetables with no added salt
  • Canned vegetables with little or no sodium

Limit coconut, olives, and avocados; vegetables in butter, cream or cheese sauce; and fruit canned in heavy syrup.

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Beans, Eggs and Nuts

  • Lean cuts of meat (trim all visible fat)
  • White meat chicken and turkey
  • Fresh fish or fish canned in water
  • Tofu or tempeh (soybean cakes)
  • Canned or dried beans and lentils
  • Egg substitutes (See also: The Egg Substitute Advantage)

Limit bacon, liver, luncheon meats, ground meat and fish canned in oil.

Milk, Yogurt and Cheese

  • Nonfat or low-fat milk
  • Calcium-fortified soy or rice milk
  • Nonfat yogurt
  • Low-fat or nonfat cottage cheese and reduced-fat cheeses
  • Low-fat ice cream and nonfat frozen yogurt

Limit cream, whole milk, and powdered creamers.

Fats, Oils and Sweets

  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Canola oil, olive oil, or liquid margarine (use sparingly)
  • Spray-on cooking oils and light or fat-free salad dressing and mayonnaise

Limit sweets and foods made with butter, palm oil, or hydrogenated fats.

Sensible Convenience Store Choices

Following are some healthy choices for those times you find yourself at a convenience store, wanting something to nibble on.

Keep in mind, convenience stores can be a great diet hazard and it is all too easy to forget about that “little cookie” you grabbed on the way out.

Or, you may kid yourself that the blueberry muffin was a healthy choice when in fact, those convenience store muffins can contain up to 600 calories and loads of fat.

The following snacks are all found in most convenience stores and provide vitamins, fiber, minerals and satisfaction.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar
240 calories

This is candy-bar delicious and has the added bonus of 5g of fiber plus vitamins and minerals.

Ultra Slim-Fast Dark Chocolate Fudge Flavor
11-ounce drink, 220 calories

This tastes like a shake but contains 5g of fiber plus vitamins and minerals.

Dannon Fruit on the Bottom Strawberry Low-Fat Yogurt
8-ounce cup, 210 calories

Sweet, creamy and cool, this contains 300mg of bone-strengthening calcium.

Kraft Handi Snacks Mozzarella String Cheese
1-ounce, 80 calories

As much calcium as half a glass of milk, this snack is great paired with a V8 (see next item).

Healthy Request V8 100 percent Vegetable Juice
10-ounces, 70 calories

Richly satisfying with a lot of cancer-fighting beta-carotene and lycopene.

Heinz Simple Goodness Peaches
4-ounce jar, 70 calories

This is baby food, yes, but tastes just like a dessert! In addition, it contains as much fiber (2g) as an entire peach!

Wether’s Original Candies
One piece, 20 calories
There are no vitamins in this snack — the bonus is it takes about ten minutes to melt in your mouth, hopefully staving off much more harmful munches.

Planters Honey-Roasted Cashews
1.5-ounce bag, 230 calories

Treat your heart to the monounsaturated fat and reap the benefit of a satisfying snack that is more likely to “tide you over” for a long period of time. Peanuts contain unsaturated fat, vitamin E and tocotrieenols (a good thing).