Grocery Shopping Guide



One of your goals of following the Fresh Express Salad Swap may be to eat healthier. In addition to meal planning and setting specific goals, it helps to keep a well-stocked pantry and kitchen. Before you head to the supermarket, find out some of my top tips for navigating the store and filling your grocery cart with foods that will help you feel great!

  •  Write down your grocery list. Once you’ve planned your meals for the week, make a written list of the ingredients you need to purchase to cook everything you need for the week. One way to save time: organize your list by category. This way you can get all your produce, for example, at once before moving on to other aisles.
  •  Shop after you eat. People who shop when they’re hungry are more likely to buy more than they need and less healthy foods, especially those that are advertised and on sale.
  •  Read labels. Before you throw packaged goods into your cart, take a look at the Nutrition Facts Panel and the ingredient list, usually found on the back of packages. The labels may seem confusing, but if you focus on just a few of the key nutrients it’s more manageable. For example, look for foods high in fiber and protein and low in saturated fats. And when it comes to ingredients, remember the higher up the ingredient is on the list, the more of that ingredient there is.
  •  Shop the perimeter. You can find healthy foods in almost every aisle of the supermarket, but generally speaking the produce, dairy, meat, and fish are sold along the perimeter of the store.
  •  Buy in-season fresh produce. When fruits and vegetables are in season, they are more flavorful and less expensive than out of season produce.
  •  For out-of-season produce, head to the freezer aisle. Frozen produce is flash frozen as soon as it’s picked in order to preserve the nutrients and flavor. As opposed to canned vegetables and fruit, fresh are not high in sodium and added sugar.
  •  Look for whole grains. Choose breads with the words “whole-wheat” as the first ingredient and look for at least 2-3 grams of fiber per slice of bread and at least 3 grams of fiber per cup of cereal.

By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express



Top 5 Tips to Stay on Track Over the Weekend


You work hard all week to eat healthfully and exercise all in the hopes of losing or maintaining a healthy weight. Then the weekend comes: Happy Hour Friday after work. Pancake brunch Saturday morning and dinner and drinks at the newest trendy restaurant Saturday night. And the usual Sunday bagels for breakfast and pizza for dinner. It’s no surprise that results of a recent study showed a pattern of weekly weight fluctuation with higher weight at the end of the weekend and lower weight during the week. A little splurge here and there won’t undo all your hard work, but there are some things you can do to stay on track over the weekend.  Find breakfast ideas on the Fresh Express “Lettuce Begin the Day in a Great Way” Pinterest Board. 

  1. Start your day with breakfast. Just like during the week, you should have a healthy, balanced breakfast first thing in the morning. You may be tempted to sleep later than usual on the weekend, but don’t get too off your regular schedule. Your metabolism relies on the patterns it knows to function properly. If you’re meeting friends for brunch later than your usual breakfast time, have a high-protein snack like a hard-boiled egg or low-fat cheese stick to hold you over and get your metabolism running before the big meal. And if you can’t resist those pancakes or waffles at brunch, look for whole grain options (many restaurants now offer them) and ask for a side of low-fat yogurt, nut butter, or chicken sausage to help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
  1. Move your body. Balance out some of the extra calories you may take in by adding some activity into your weekend. Go to the gym, for a bike ride, or to an exercise class you may not have time for during the week. If you’re catching up with a friend, do so over a fast-paced walk in the park instead of coffee. Kids in tow? Play a game of kickball or tag at the park.
  1. Don’t skip meals. Even if you’re going out for a big dinner, you still need to eat lunch and probably a snack during the day. If you think you’re saving up calories for dinner, you’re in for a rude awakening – you’ll end up eating more than you would normally and regretting it the next time you step on the scale. Swap the cheeseburger or slice of pizza at lunch for a nutritious and delicious salad that will save you calories and keep you satiated throughout the afternoon. You’ll be much happier when you slip into your skinny jeans for your night on the town!
  1. Watch the alcohol. Cocktails are in and who doesn’t like a nice glass of wine?! But the calories from those alcoholic drinks can add up. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend moderate consumption of alcohol, which translates to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Can’t stick to that limit? Swap at least one alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic one or make a mocktail instead.
  1. Change your mindset. If your weekend mentality is “I’ll get back on track on Monday,” you’re at much greater risk for undoing the healthy behaviors you work hard on all week. And if you find yourself thinking in dichotomous terms like “good” vs “bad, “all” or “nothing,” you’re going to have a hard time making it through the weekend without totally throwing your hands up in the air. Instead, remember the goals you have set and that one or two indulgences are not the be-all and end-all.


By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express

Salad Ingredients to Boost Heart Health


heart healthy ingredients

February has long been known for its attention to hearts – with Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month both taking place during this month. As you’re working on your commitment to the Salad Swap, pay special attention to choosing salad ingredients that will benefit your heart in addition to your waistline! You may not be aware, but many of the Salad Swap recipes are already filled with heart-healthy ingredients. Here are 5 of the best ingredients for your heart and recipes in which you can find them!

  1. Beans: A source of protein, which helps you maintain stable blood sugar levels and keeps you satiated, beans are also a good source of the heart-healthy nutrients magnesium, folate, and niacin. Try the Chicken Rice & Black Bean Salad Bowl.
  1. Blueberries: All berries are good for you, but blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants like vitamin C and anthocyanins that keep your heart ticking. These little blue berries are also a good source of magnesium, potassium, folate, and fiber. Try blueberries in the Fresh Express Red, White, and Blue Salad.
  1. Kale: Gaining popularity over the past few years, kale has been called a superfood and “one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.” A leafy green member of the Brassica family (along with Brussels sprouts and broccoli), kale is brimming with antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K. And its fiber content can help lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Try the Lemon Tilapia with Kale Chips for an easy weeknight dinner.
  1. Fatty Fish: Ever hear of omega-3 fatty acids? That’s what accounts for the bulk of heart-health benefits of fish (and other foods like walnuts). Omega-3s are a form of unsaturated fat that have been shown to help decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Salmon is most well-known for it’s omega-3 content, but tuna is a good source too. Instead of a mayo-laden tuna sandwich, try this Peppercorn-Crusted Ahi Tuna Salad!
  1. Avocados: This creamy fruit is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are good for your heart. Not to mention the other nearly 20 vitamins and minerals avocados contain, including folate, potassium, and vitamins E and C. And they taste great! You can enjoy them mashed into guacamole, spread on a burger in place of cheese, or cubed in a salad. Try them in the Southwest Chicken Salad or Southwest BLT Salad. Both of these recipes can be found on the Salad Swap site.

By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express