On Wednesday afternoon, we were excited to have Stephanie Storer from the Lowcountry Food Bank join us for a group connection called “Cooking Matters at the Store”. She started by reviewing ChooseMyPlate.gov, an important resource regarding the five food groups and what servings we should aim to have each day. This site, hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, allows for more in-depth exploration of the five food groups, dietary guidelines, and various resources.
Stephanie also shared some key skills about shopping at the grocery store, starting with reading food labels. Food labels tell the story of how we’re fueling our bodies. She gave us several key tips to keep in mind. First, the ingredient list will list ingredients in order from most used to least used. So if sugar is at the top of the list, then the food contains more sugar compared to other ingredients. Second, it helps to look out for the Daily Percent Value, which shows how much of a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a total daily diet. It can help you determine if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient.
We learned about proteins, dairy, and various options for selecting produce. A few tips and tricks were also mixed in, including that there’s usually one day a week when meat prices drop. This is typically the last day that the butcher can have the meat on the shelf, which means a lot of half price or buy one/get one free deals.
Finally, we practiced comparing Unit Prices to get the best value for our money. The Unit Price helps you compare two of the same food items in different sizes (i.e. how much it costs per ounce, pound, etc). For instance, if we have a soup that costs $2.40 for 12 ounces, we divide $2.40 by 12 to get the unit price of $.20 per ounce. That way, we can compare the unit price to a different size, such as $6.00 for 24 ounces (or a unit price of $.25 per ounce). After doing the math (or looking at the Unit Prices directly on the shelf), we’ll see that the 12 ounce soup is actually a better overall deal.
At the end of the group meeting, we were more knowledgeable about the different food groups, shopping tips & tricks, ways to evaluate food labels, and ways to effectively comparison shop. We’re excited to take this knowledge DIRECTLY to the grocery store moving forward!