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Shop Smarter

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ATLANTA -

Taryn Wren has 3 reasons she wants to shop smarter: One's 1 - one's 9 and one's 12.

So Monica Griffin, a registered dietitian with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, volunteered to share her grocery store secrets with Tayrn at her Canton Publix.

Taryn is on a budget, so she usually comes with coupons, and lets the coupons dictate how she shops.

Griffin suggests something a little different. She wants Wren to shop the store with a game plan: to spend most of her time, and money, on the outer edge of the store. The reason?

Griffin says "That's where the fresh fruits are going to be, when you look at the outside of the store, you're going to have your fresh produce, your fresh meats, your low fat dairies, like your low-fat milk, and your low-fat yogurt."

Stores usually keep processed foods - with added salt and sugar - on the inner aisles. So, Griffin says, "We want to limit our food dollars and our amount of time we spend there."

For fruits and veggies, Griffin says, fresh is great, but frozen is just as healthy. And when a fruit or vegetable is out of season, and more expensive, shopping the frozen aisle can save you money. To save you time, she points out, the vegetables and fruit are already cut up for you.

In the cereal aisle, Taryn says she usually shops by the brands her husband Rick and the kids like, like Captain Crunch and Cheerios.

Monica suggests going by the label. She says, When you're looking at cereals, a good rule of thumb is to look at the sugar. We want to aim for 6 grams of sugar or less."

If you don't have time to read the label, look for the "WIC" seal. Griffin says, "To get the WIC seal, to be a WIC-approved food, you have to have less than 6 grams of sugar, per serving, so it's a quick way to know you're making a healthy choice."

What about juice?

Taryn's kids love it, "Apple juice and cranberry juice, especially."

Griffin isn't so hot on juice. She says, "The juice actually has as much sugar as other sugary drinks, every ounce of juice has about a teaspoon of sugar."

To save money, Monica says cut the juice. Or, buy less juice, and cut it half-and-half with water when you get home. She says most kids won't notice the difference.

The snack aisle is where a lot of get tripped up. So, Griffin suggests buying something you and the kids like, but just one treat.

"So you're going to get cookies, or ice cream, or chips, not all three."

Taryn Wren says she learned a lot.

The next time she comes, she'll shop from the outside of the store inward. Leaving the store, she says, "You just have to think a little bit more, and plan a little more, but if you plan, I think you can do it."

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