SIOUX FALLS, SD -
What you have in your food pantry plays a large role in whether you eat healthy or are overweight.
In fact, health officials say the number one factor in the obesity epidemic in the U.S. is the food environment.
Brad Steckelberg is getting some one-on-one help grocery shopping from a dietitian thanks to the Mission Nutrition competition.
Dietitians from Avera Heart Hospital are helping people in the community involved in the competition lead a healthier lifestyle and the focus this week is on grocery shopping.
"I started working with a trainer about four months ago, and he said that if I could improve my nutrition, it would really improve what I'm already seeing at the gym," Steckelberg said.
Steckelberg is on a mission to lose weight and eat healthier, but what you eat depends a lot on what you buy.
"The number one criteria for the obesity epidemic in the U.S. is the food environment. That's what's on hand, what's in your face. That's what you're going to choose," Avera Heart Hospital Dietitian Joanne Shearer said.
One inexpensive option is the healthy bulk food section. Take a look at this. This raw trail mix is $5.25 a pound. Now compare that to potato chips, which are $6 to $8 a pound.
"And you're getting so much more nutrition, and these foods will fuel you up, fill you up, and stick with you all day," Shearer said.
Shearer also says you should eat foods closest to their natural state and shop the outside aisles of the grocery store.
"On the outside of the grocery store aisles, that's where you find your fruits and vegetables, your fresh meats, your fresh produce, so that's the place to really spend your time in the grocery store," Shearer said.
And when roaming the aisles, avoid grabbing foods with trans fats or hydrogenated fats, along with processed and refined packaged foods.
"If you do buy the packaged foods, just remember to buy the packaged foods that have the fewest ingredients," Shearer said.
With a few tips, Steckelberg hopes he'll change his habits and head towards healthier eating.
"I'm finding that a lot of the things that I choose to make for myself for meals are bad food choices," Steckelberg said.
Choices in the grocery store that impact your health.
The Mission Nutrition competition involves dozens of people in the Sioux Falls community and lasts six weeks.
KELOLAND's Casey Wonnenberg is taking part. You can follow her journey on her KELO Casey Wonnenberg Facebook page
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