Healthy Eating Starts With Healthy Shopping

Good nutrition starts with smart choices in the grocery store. Cooking up healthy meals is a challenge if you don’t have the right ingredients in your kitchen.

  • Know Your Store
  • Bring a List
  • Use the Facts

grocery shopping, healthy food, healthy eating

Know Your Store

Grocery stores have thousands of products with most food items grouped together to make your decision-making easier. Many grocery stores have sections where foods are shelved much like the food groups of MyPlate.

The MyPlate food groups put foods with similar nutritional value together. These groups are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Dairy
  • Protein

Where are these food groups in your store?

Food Group Typical Store Location(s) Best Choices
Fruits Produce Aisle
Canned Goods
Freezer Aisle
Salad Bar
Variety! Fresh, Frozen, Canned (in natural juices) and Dried Fruits.
Vegetables Produce Aisle
Canned Goods
Freezer Aisle
Salad Bar
Pasta, Rice & Bean Aisle
Variety! Fresh, Frozen and Canned (no salt added). Dry Beans and Peas.
Grains Bakery
Bread Aisle
Pasta & Rice Aisle(s)
Cereal Aisle
Whole Grains for at least half of choices.
Milk,Yogurt, & Cheese
(calcium-rich foods)
Dairy Case
Refrigerated Aisle
Non-Fat and Low-Fat Milk, Yogurt, Low-Fat and Fat-Free Cheeses
Meat and Beans
Soy,& Nuts
(protein foods)
Meat & Poultry Case
Seafood Counter
Egg Case
Canned Goods
Salad Bar
Lean Meats, Skinless Poultry, Fish, Legumes (dried beans and peas), Nuts.


Bring a List

And stick to it! Planning ahead can improve your health while saving you time and money. Before shopping, decide which foods you need, and the quantity that will last until your next shopping trip.

Consider creating a shopping list based on the MyPlate food groups to include a variety of healthy food choices. Think about your menu ideas when adding items to your list and write your list to match the layout of your store.

nutrition, reading nutrition labels, healthy eating, healthy food

Use the Facts

The Nutrition Facts that is! The Nutrition Facts panel and ingredient list on the food label is your guide to making healthy choices. Using these is important when shopping to be able to compare foods before you buy.

Remember that ingredients are listed in order of abundance found in a product, so the first ingredients listed are the most important. When reading the ingredients list, Nutrition Facts panel consider this:

Keep these Low: Look for More of these:
saturated fats

trans fats






calcium, potassium, magnesium & iron


Find out more about using the nutrition facts label, deciphering ingredients and how to navigate the aisles with a complimentary grocery store tour with your Hy-Vee dietitian!


About the author. hyvee mankato, physical therapy mankato

Holly Ellison, RD, LD | Riverfront Hy-Vee Dietitian

507.625.1107 |