Dietitian Preferred: Surprising Foods that Did and Didn't Make the List

Eating healthy is no doubt on the top of most people’s list looking towards 2018. Eating right and finding resources as to what foods to eat can be challenging and defeating.

Luckily, finding healthier choices is now easier thanks to the Dietitian Preferred program, a partnership between Intermountain Healthcare and Associated Food Stores. The program uses an innovative shelf tagging system to help shoppers quickly identify the most nutritious foods. The program will be in more than 42 Associated Foods Stores throughout.

Foods earning the dietitian preferred tag were those that could form the foundation of a healthy diet. Dietitian preferred foods are minimally processed and contain essential nutrients required for optimal health and wellness. They also have few ingredients that should be consumed in moderation (like added sugar or unhealthy fats).

Below you’ll find a list of a few surprises you might find while shopping our aisles and reviewing the dietitian preferred tags.

Surprisingly Healthy:
  • Popcorn is a whole grain and good source of fiber. Both microwave and ready-popped options are available without too much added sugar or fat from brands like Orville Redenbacher, Newman’s Own, Boom Chicka Pop, and Smart Pop.
  • Whole milk earned the dietitian preferred label, along with lower fat options. All milks are good sources of protein, calcium, and vitamin D, but whole milk has historically not been recommended due to its higher fat content. Recent evidence, however, suggests the fats in milk do not pose a health risk.
  • Spaghetti sauce and other canned tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A, along with phytonutrients like lycopene. Cooking a tomato actually increases your ability to absorb many nutrients, making these canned products a great addition to your diet.

Surprisingly Not Labeled:

  • Teas and Coffees are becoming increasingly popular beverages due to the phytonutrients they contain. While these nutrients may offer a health benefit, they are not required for optimal health so didn’t earn a tag.
  • Cereals have long been touted as a healthy way to start your day. Due to the large amount of added sugars many contain and lack of whole grains, only a few like Cheerios, Barbaras Puffins, or Bear Naked Granola earned a tag.
  • Vegan products can mistakenly be viewed as a healthier choice. The reality is, many vegan meat and cheese substitutes are highly processed and most milk substitutes fail to provide an equivalent benefit to real milk.

Foods labeled as Dietitian Preferred are in most categories throughout the store, but foods that provide little nutritional value, like desserts, chips, or soda, have no tags.