SHOPPERS CAN FIND the healthiest foods in a supermarket without even bothering to read the health messages on most food labels. Here are tips from the American Dietetic Association.
* Head straight for the fresh produce section. Go for the dark green vegetables -- broccoli, spinach, cabbage -- and the yellow-orange produce like carrots, cantaloupe and apricots. These food groups will give you plenty of vitamin A and carotene -- both associated with a lower risk of cancer.
* Beans and peas are excellent choices, high in fiber while low in fat and salt. Lentils, lima beans and split peas are good bets.
* When it comes to dairy products, look for low-fat. Milk now comes in non-fat, low-fat and a 1 percent fat, "Extra Light" version.
* Look for cheeses that are low-fat by nature rather than from specialized processing. Farmer's cheese, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses are all good choices. "Laughing Cow" brand cheese wedges are made from skim milk and a good low-fat choice.
* When in the meat section, head first for poultry. Marbled red meats are highest in fat, but there are some low-fat lean alternatives. Look closely at the labels for fat content to be sure.
* When walking down "Cereal Row," choose the less-processed products, like rolled oats, rather than high-sugar, high-salt cereals. The benefits of oat bran are under debate, but some nutritionists say that it may lower cholesterol levels mildly in combination with a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
* Brown rice is a better choice than either white rice or some processed rice mixes that are loaded with flavorings and salt.
* Ignore the "low cholesterol" labels on cooking oil, because they are meaningless. Since cooking oil is all fat, by definition it contains no cholesterol. Some cooking oils -- olive, canola and corn oils, for example -- are healthier choices than others because they contain a higher proportion of mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated oils.
Braised Turkey Breast Cutlets
2 teaspoons margarine
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, halved
8 2-ounce each turkey breast cutlets
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup Chablis or other dry white wine
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Heat margarine and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until lightly browned. Discard garlic and add turkey to skillet. Cook turkey two minutes; turn and cook one NTC additional minute. Add mushrooms, wine, onions, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer three to four minutes or until turkey is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.
Makes four servings of two cutlets each with 1/4 of vegetables. Each serving has 199 calories, 25 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fat including 1 gram saturated fat, 137 milligrams sodium and 56 milligrams cholesterol.
-- "Delicious Ways to Lower Cholesterol" edited by Joan Erskine Denman; Oxmoor House -- 1989.