Many stores are becoming “go-to” sources for sound nutrition information and creative meal ideas … at the point of purchase. Both big and small chains are hiring registered dietitian nutritionists to help shoppers navigate the aisles, clarify confusing information and make the best choices from more than 42,000 items they stock for you.
Ask a Dietitian!
As qualified culinary and nutrition experts, supermarket dietitians are prepared to help make your shopping efficient, well informed and delicious — so success continues to your kitchen and family table.
Look for a supermarket dietitian where you shop – either in the store, online or both. Here’s how a dietitian may help you:
Navigate the supermarket. From the produce and dairy departments, to the deli, meat, and fish counters, to the bakery and freezer section, then up and down the store aisles … “walk” the store with a dietitian. A new mom likely wants to know how to choose the right baby food. Nearly everyone needs to find products that give fiber and calcium a boost. And what’s healthy in the snack and drink aisles? If you’re on real-time — or even virtual — supermarket tours for kids and community groups, let supermarket dietitians take you through the store.
Decode the food label. Labels are shopping tools. But what does all that “info” mean? Again, a dietitian can help you use product dates, health and nutrient content claims, front-of-pack nutrition information, the ingredient list and the Nutrition Facts.
Take advantage of seasonal produce. Displays of fruits and vegetables change with the season: seasonal prices, local products and perhaps produce that’s less familiar. Check in-store brochures and magazines and online websites and blogs for ways to select, store and prepare seasonal produce at its peak.
Find foods for special health needs. With food allergies and celiac disease rising, guidance from a supermarket dietitian has become a more important service for customers and store employees. If someone in your family needs to eat allergen-free, gluten-free or maybe lactose-free, a dietitian can help you use food labels to find the right products. Ask for store’s product lists of these “-free” foods.
Learn to cook. As culinary professionals, supermarket dietitians conduct cooking classes and demos in the store and at community events. Look for step-by-step cooking videos in the store or online – sometimes for new products.
Find a healthy recipe. If you need a new way to cook pasta or beans, want healthy snack ideas for kids, or menu ideas for a family celebration, check the store’s magazines or online site, or displays. Dietitians develop healthy recipes for all these resources.
Understand how foods affect medical conditions. Many supermarket dietitians work with the in-store pharmacy to help customers manage diabetes, blood pressure and more … or explain how certain foods interact with some medications. Some stores offer in-store nutrition counseling services.
Use SNAP (food stamp) and WIC benefits. For those who qualify, a supermarket dietitian can help “max” the benefits.
Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS, is author of the Complete Food and Nutrition Guide from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, with tips on navigating your supermarket!