LiveWell Louisiana

Tips for Shopping Food Smart During the Holiday Season

Though most of us can handle a grocery store trip on autopilot, for others, it can be a source of anxiety. Our Touro dietitian, Julie Fortenberry, shares her top tips to make the process a little less daunting.
December 1st, 2013 by: Julie Fortenberry

Nutrition Label

Learn to Spot Marketing Tricks

  • Children’s cereals—usually in brightly colored boxes , featuring cartoon characters—are always found on the bottom two shelves, while the healthier cereals are higher up where kids can’t see them.
  • With the endless festivities the holidays bring, you have to work twice as hard to maintain a healthy weight. Our dietitian gives some proactive tips for heading off holiday weight gain.
  • Just because a food is labeled trans-fat-free does not mean that it truly is. Anything with under .5 grams of trans fat can be labeled as trans-  fat free. The same goes for [anything labeled] sodium-free and sugar-free.
  • Omitting one unhealthy ingredient does not make a food healthy. Skittles, for example, are a low-fat food, but they still have quite a bit of sugar.
  • Gluten-free is not synonymous with healthy.

Smart Tips for Moms

  • Not all Cheerios are created equal. If your kids favor the sweet versions, try mixing in some of the healthier varieties—such as Multi-Grain or traditional Cheerios.
  • Make your fridge look like the produce aisle. Studies show that the vibrant colors and smells in this part of the store make shoppers more impulsive.
  • So wash and chop up your fruits and veggies; then put them within easy range of fingers searching for a snack.
  • Use marketing tricks in your own home! Place healthy choices at toddler (or kid) eye level.

Do Your Homework: 

  • Plan out your meals for the week in advance, and make a list of the ingredients you need.
  • Carry cash instead of using your debit or credit card. This will help you remain on budget.

Extra Strategy for the Season:
With the endless festivities the holidays bring, you have to work twice as hard to maintain a healthy weight. Our dietitian gives some proactive tips for heading off holiday weight gain.

  • Eat before you go to a party. It seems counterintuitive, but sating your appetite beforehand will help you make wiser decisions in the midst of the party.
  • Monitor your alcohol consumption. A one- cup glass of eggnog packs a whopping  350 calories. Be sure to factor in the calories you rack up with holiday cocktails— they add up quicker than you think.

This winter, Touro will show people how to shop for healthy low-cholesterol, low-sodium and gluten-free diets. To sign up for a store tour, visit or visit the LiveWell Louisiana calendar for December dates.