Healthy one-pot meals

May 5, 2009

Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta

Fennel, Sausage and Asparagus Medley

Chicken, Pasta Salad with Spring Vegetables

Sesame-Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

Provided By: Maribel Cabrales, MBA, RD, LDN, Meijer Dietitian and Healthy Living Advisor For more nutrition information, weekly menu, recipe ideas and coupons visit or



Meijer shoppers are now armed with a simple way to judge the nutritional value of foods and beverages, as the company introduces the NuVal™ Nutritional Scoring System which calculates and summarizes a product's nutritional information into a single score. Beginning this week, Meijer grocery shelves in Chicago suburbs and Northwest Indiana will begin sporting small tags that reveal the scientifically calculated nutritional value score for an individual product. NuVal scores will range from 1-100, with 100 being the most nutritious.

Initially, 8,000 products from 15 different food categories will have an assigned NuVal score. The NuVal system was developed by a team of nutritional experts from leading universities and health organizations, and is currently in use by a handful of major grocery chains across the country.

"This simple scoring system provides our customers with the information they need to make well-informed nutritional choices, one food at a time," said Ralph Fischer, group vice president of foods for Meijer "There is so much confusion when it comes to nutrition information, and that's why we felt it was imperative to provide our shoppers with unbiased and simple information to help them make the most informed choices."

The independent NuVal (Nutritional Value) Scoring System is the most comprehensive consumer tool in determining the nutritional value of a product, as it takes into account more than 30 distinct factors and evaluates the dietary importance of each to determine an overall nutritional quality score.

A sampling of scores reveals the wide disparity in the nutritional value of certain products within the same category. In the Seafood category, an Atlantic salmon fillet receives a score of 87, while Chinook salmon receives only a 56. In Produce, oranges receive a perfect score of 100, while iceberg lettuce scores 82. In the Salty Snacks category, the highest score received is a 40, and the lowest is a 1.

The system was developed by doctors and researchers as a way to address the rise in obesity, diabetes and heart disease, all of which are related to food choices. Furthermore, it seeks to eliminate the consumer confusion over current nutrition information written on packages. Scores are calculated through a formula that takes into account a product's numerators (e.g. the presence of fiber, vitamins, calcium, magnesium, et al.) and denominators (saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, sugar and cholesterol). Depending on the composition, a score is assigned to that particular product.

Meijer will continue to increase the number of products carrying a NuVal score during the next few months. To begin, Meijer identified 15 categories whose products would be given a NuVal score. These include fresh produce, frozen vegetables, cereal, cookies, crackers, eggs and egg products, fresh sandwich bread, milk, fresh seafood, fresh protein (beef, chicken, and pork), pasta, shortening/oil, salty snacks, canned vegetables and juices.

For more information on NuVal, visit The Meijer Meal Box

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