Supermarket Tour Ideas and Tips

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Chicago CartSmart Program Grows
Chicago grocery stores are being transformed into nutrition classrooms, thanks to the efforts of the American Heart Association’s Chicago affiliate and a handful of talented dietitians. This yearlong community-based project has grown into a successful full-time program to influence how consumers think about food and what they purchase. CartSmart has been scheduled in over 150 locations with approximately 2,000 participants by 150 Registered Dietitians.
Tour leaders are given index cards with scripts about each section. The good thing about this is that the cards can be arranged in the order of each store. Though the information is standardized to convey a uniform AHA message, the leaders are encouraged to use creativity and individualize their presentations according to each group. Each participant receives a bag of

Self-guided tours
Layne Lieberman-Anapol, RD, King Kullen Grocery Company, New York, has a questionnaire for self-guided tours that was developed for March as National Nutrition Month. This project was a group effort by the Long Island Nutrition Network. Participants entered into a drawing for various prizes by answering 6 questions:
1) Find your favorite cereal and locate the grams of fiber per serving on the Nutrition Facts Label. If your cereal has less than 5 grams of fiber per serving, find one that contains at least 5 grams of fiber per serving .
2) Name a fresh fruit grown in the US. Name a fresh fruit grown in another country.
3) List 5 different salad greens available in the produce section.
4) List three varieties of dried beans.
5) Compare the nutrition facts labels for calcium and total fat grams for whole milk, 2% milk and 1% milk.
6) Find a cookie that has a regular and a fat free or lowfat version and compare the following: total fat grams, sugar grams and total calories. What did you find out?

Supermarket tours for kids
Layne also worked with an area school that raised money to provide food for the needy. She taught them about the MyPlate then assigned groups of kids to each group in the pyramid and then went shopping with them. They made a list before they went, compared unit pricing to see how generic brands save money, took advantage of store sales and learned about produce. The kids got a good feeling about buying nutritious things for the needy and learned the basics about good nutrition.

Connie Evers, MS, RD, Nutrition Consultant, gives these tips in her electronic newsletter, Feeding Kids:
• Note the wide variety of fruits and vegetables available. Experiment with new varieties of common foods like apples, pears or potatoes and give some of the newer, more exotic fruits and vegetables a try. Instead of green peppers, ask your child to select a yellow, red, purple or orange variety. If broccoli is getting boring, point out the green cauliflower or fresh Brussels sprouts.
• See if the kids can find the 100% whole wheat bread among the sea of breads.
• Have youngsters compare labels to determine how many grams of fat per ounce of cheese (this hones math skills). 5 grams of fat or less per ounce is ideal.
• Find the leanest meat available. The key is to ignore all the descriptions and look for the percentage of fat.
• Ask kids to compare different brands of cereals for grams of sugar and grams of fiber per serving.

Supermarket Tour for Diabetics
Carol Keinath, RD, Clinical Dietitian at Central Michigan Community Hospital counsels diabetics and is always urging them to look at how many carbohydrates are in anything, even the sugar-free foods or dietetic foods because a lot of them aren’t free. She usually keeps a Healthy Choice Dinner, a sugar-free, fat-free ice cream box, a box of frozen waffles, candy bar wrapper, etc on hand to teach them to ignore claims such as 97% fat free or no cholesterol and read the label.

Focus on Fruits and Vegetables
Shirley Broughton, RD, CD has conducted supermarket tours for ongoing classes. To focus on fruits and vegetables, she has participants count the number of fruits and vegetables. There were 70 kinds at one store, and the point to this is that it is easy to get 5 a day. They sample items and discuss easy preparations to get 5 a day. The produce manager shares great tips to discuss how to select the best produce and what to do with various types of produce.
Patricia Manuel, MS, RD, CD, Seattle King Dept. of Health, urges tour attendees to stay on the perimeter of the grocery store where the freshest items, particularly fruits and vegetables are found.

Find their Favorite Foods
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers supermarket tour sessions as part of their 8 week Healthy Living series. Consumers are encouraged to find favorite foods and compare them with other possible choices. Time is also spent talking about reducing time and money spent.

Private Tours for Weight Loss Patients
Jennifer Brent, MS, RD, Consultant, Nutrition Solutions in Atlanta, Georgia finds that supermarket tour sessions, as part of her one on one counseling with clients, makes their weight loss efforts more successful. Her clients have a better attitude because they can walk out of the store with delicious, 15-minute meals and a better understanding of how to plan their own meals.

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