The supermarket meat department can be a very confusing place, thanks to all the terms and claims on labels. What's worse, prices can vary a lot depending on which claims are on those packages. If you're not certain what all the terminology means—and worry you're not making the smartest choices because of it—you are definitely not alone. "There are many terms that relate to meat that consumers don't understand," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You From Label To Table. She decodes the most common labels on meat so you can be a smarter shopper:
But be sure to look beyond these claims too. Taub-Dix advises always checking for the expiration date and making sure the package is well sealed and not leaking, and that there's no odor to the meat or poultry.
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, educator, and mom of two who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. She is the author of The Snacktivist's Handbook: How to Change the Junk Food Snack Culture at School, in Sports, and at Camp—and Raise Healthier Snackers at Home. She also collaborated with Cooking Light on Dinnertime Survival Guide, a cookbook for busy families. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. In her spare time, she loads and unloads the dishwasher. Then loads it again.