Grocery Store Tour

Categories: Nutrition
grocery store

Lisa Cooper, MS, RD, LD/N
Registered Dietitian, Orlando Health Center for Health Improvement

In recent years, I have had the opportunity to guide grocery tours. Attending a grocery tour offers the chance to learn about food choices and tips for purchasing the healthiest foods for your family. The tour provides tools to help decipher labels and guidelines to make food selection easier.

Helpful Tips for Your Trip

  • Plan-ahead by making a grocery list and sticking to it
  • Eat before your grocery shopping trip to prevent impulse buying
  • Look for coupons and sale items. Only purchase sale items you usually use or need
  • Start with the perimeter of the store to find fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy
  • Read food labels carefully paying special attention to the ingredient list and serving size
  • Look high and low- on the top or bottom shelves for healthy options


  • Select poultry breast without skin
  • Ground chicken or turkey may include dark meat or skin. Choose ground chicken or turkey breast (97% fat free) which is made of only ground poultry breast

Red Meat

  • Choose lean ground beef (greater than 93% lean)
  • Select beef or pork loin cuts with little to no marbling (fat running through the meat)
  • Limit processed meat such as bacon, sausage, ham and luncheon meats which are likely to be high in sodium and are strongly associated with colon cancer

Canned Foods

  • Choose low sodium or no added salt canned items such as vegetables, spaghetti sauce, soups and tuna
  • Choose oil-based salad dressings and read the label for sodium. A better option is to make your own dressings at home


  • Choose fresh, local produce
  • Make sure to select a variety of fruits and vegetables with different colors. Deep colors like red, orange, deep green and dark purple provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals


  • Purchase enough fish or seafood for 2-3 meals each week
  • Choose fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines that provide essential omega-3 fatty acids important for heart and brain health


  • Choose low fat cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, milk and yogurts
  • Find cheese that is less than 3 grams of saturated fat and under 170 mg sodium per ounce
  • Choose Greek yogurt that is low in fat and added sugars. A good choice has less than 140 calories, is low in added sugars and under 2 grams saturated fat


  • Select mainly whole grains such as quinoa, barley, wild rice, farro, oats, whole grain breakfast cereals, whole wheat tortillas, corn tortillas, whole grain English muffins and pitas
  • Choose breads that are 100% whole grain with the word WHOLE grain listed first on the ingredient list
  • Include pastas made with whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa or beans
  • Find breakfast cereals that provide at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of added sugar


Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Looking to reduce sodium in your diet? Give this dressing a try!


1/4 cup Olive Oil

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1    tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

2    tsp Honey

1/2 tsp Salt

1/8 tsp Pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Shake until well combined.
  3. Refrigerate and let flavors blend for at least 30 minutes.

Next time you are heading to the store, make time to look closely at products. Carefully compare labels to make educated food choices for you and your family.

Let us know your grocery shopping tips for making healthier choices. Share it with us! We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:

Lisa Cooper

About the Author

Lisa Cooper is a dietitian specializing in prevention and wellness at Orlando Health.  She is a registered and licensed dietitian with a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University and a Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University.

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