Tasty Trades for Your Food Shopping List

All Ages

Can you spot the danger zones in your grocery store? When you head out with your grocery list in hand, you want to find foods that will fill tummies, but keep your family healthy too. Beware of these hidden danger zones on your next trip to the grocery store. 


The average kid's cereal is made up of 30% sugar—leaving less room for the good nutrition your child needs to start their day. Scan the label and aim for less than 6 grams of sugar per serving and at least 3 grams of fiber. No time to read the label? Look for cereals with a “WIC approved” tag on the shelf—this means they are lower in sugar and contain whole grains.

Breakfast bars

Granola and breakfast bars can pack as much (or more) sugar than a candy bar. Skip the bars with chocolate and candy pieces, and opt for a crunchy granola bar with a healthy first ingredient, like oats, almonds or whole wheat flour.

Canned goods

Look out for sugar, fat and salt lurking in canned goods. Choose “no salt added” canned veggies and beans, “low sodium” or “reduced sodium” soups, and fruits that are packed in water or 100% juice.


Added salt, sugar and saturated (unhealthy) fat can also be hidden in items like salad dressing, barbecue sauce and other condiments. Opt for oil-based or vinaigrette dressings, and look for sauces that are lower in sodium (salt) and sugar.


Some breads appear to be whole grain, but really aren’t. Don’t be fooled by words like “multi-grain” or “9-grain,” or assume that it’s whole grain because it’s brown. When food shopping, check the package for the words “100% whole grain,” or check the ingredients list to make sure the first word is “whole,” like “whole wheat flour.” Making the switch will make sure your child’s stomach stays fuller longer, and will keep his digestive system running smoothly.


The only drinks kids need are plain water and low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) milk. Save money by skipping the sodas, sports drinks and juices, because they are loaded with sugar. Avoid “diet” or “sugar-free” drinks on your grocery list, because they have artificial sweeteners, which teach kids that drinks need to taste sweet, and make it harder to get them to learn to like water. Make water fun by adding fresh-sliced fruits and herbs, or try a sparkling water that is free of sugar and artificial sweeteners.