Prairie Fare: A Makeover for Your Grocery Cart
By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist
NDSU Extension Service
"Reality" shows are quite popular on TV. Some involve makeovers for
homes, yards and wardrobes. Some shows go beyond painting, planting and
One show takes makeovers to the "extreme." Besides new hairdos and
wardrobes, liposuction and plastic surgery mold people into new forms. Of
course there are less-drastic ways to drop a clothing size.
I propose a new reality show called "Easy Grocery Cart Makeovers." I’m
not sure I’d have many viewers, but my participants might lose weight or
maintain their current weight – and get healthier in the long run.
Let’s imagine we’re taking a trip through a grocery store with my first
participant, "Bob," a 30-year-old bachelor who likes to cook when he has
time. Bob’s job, however, involves working long hours, so he tends to buy
lots of ready-to-eat foods. He snacks on candy bars, chips and soda pop to
maintain his energy.
Bob is concerned about his gradual weight gain. At 5 feet 10, he weighs
220 pounds. He’d like to return to his college weight: 190 pounds. Bob
recently had a check-up and learned his blood cholesterol is higher than
normal and his blood pressure has increased.
Bob is ready to make some changes. We’re now at a large supermarket with
our camera crew. Bob and I talk about all the choices there are in a large
supermarket: 23,000 in this store.
We talk about the psychology of supermarket layouts. Deli items and
ready-to-eat foods are placed close to the entrance, so hungry shoppers are
enticed by the aromas and appearance of these grab-and-go foods.
We reach the produce aisle first. Bob usually bypasses the fruit and
vegetable section because he thinks these foods take too long to prepare. He
admits that baby carrots, bananas and apples are portable snacks. They go in
We also talk about the health benefits of adding a rainbow of colors of
fruits and vegetables to his menu. Bob promises to try adding a different
fruit and vegetable to his cart every week. To show that he means it, he
tosses in a head of broccoli. I’ll be following up with Bob.
We go to the canned and dry goods aisle. Bob picks up some salsa and
baked tortilla chips for a snack at work. I nod my approval. I hold up a bag
of whole grain bread and show him that "whole grain" is the first ingredient
on the label. He adds it to the cart.
We reach the meat section next. It’s harder to compare fresh meats for
nutritional value because nutrition labeling isn’t required unless the meats
are processed into bologna, for example. One package says "regular" and
another says "lean." Lean meat is lower in fat and calories but other
nutrients are quite similar. The lean meat goes in the cart. For future
reference, I tell Bob that "round" and "loin" cuts are also generally lower
in fat and calories, but he can cut calories and fat by draining the fat
from meat or using low-fat cooking methods like grilling.
In the dairy section, Bob remarks that there’s no "food value" in low-fat
milk, so he wants whole milk. We discuss this misconception. The only
difference between different types of milk (whole, 2 percent, 1 percent) is
their fat and calorie content. The other nutrients, most notably calcium and
vitamin D, are the same. Bob decides he will try 2 percent milk this week.
He also picks up some part-skim mozzarella cheese for this week’s recipe.
In the frozen foods section, Bob, with his new label reading skills,
notices that some of his former choices are quite high in sodium according
to the "percent daily value" figures. That’s not good for his blood
pressure, he notes. He finds dinners that are lower in sodium and fat, too.
He adds some frozen 100 percent juice and lowfat frozen yogurt to his cart.
We’re ready to check out. Bob is staring at a bag of snack-size chocolate
bars. "Just one a day?" he asks. "Yes, even an occasional treat can fit into
your new eating plan," I respond.
Bob checks his pedometer since he’s been trying to add physical activity
to his routine. He discovers that he has added 2000 steps while shopping for
I share this quick and easy recipe with Bob from the 3-A-Day of Dairy
program. For more information, visit this Web site:
Easy, Cheesy Calzone
16 oz. prepared pizza dough
1/2 c. pizza sauce
2 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 c. cooked, chopped broccoli, drained
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. On a lightly
floured surface, roll dough to form a 9 x 14 rectangle, about 1/4 inch
thick. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Spread pizza sauce over half of
the dough. Sprinkle cheese over entire piece of dough to within half inch
of all of the edges. Layer broccoli on one half of the 14 inch side of the
dough. Fold dough in half over the cheese and broccoli filling. Seal edges
of the calzone by pressing with the tines of a fork. Prick top. Brush top
with butter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting. Each serving contains 260
calories, 8 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat and 32 grams carbohydrates.
Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Tom Jirik, (701) 231-9629, email@example.com
[Editors: We’ve updated the illustrated column identifier for Julie
Garden-Robinson’s Prairie Fare column. If you’re using an older version or
if you would like to use the identifier, please download this printable EPS
file. Prairie Fare (142 Kb eps