Grocery store tours promote healthy eating.
WRITTEN BY SUE EDMONDSON
PHOTO BY CANDICE NYANDO
Kellie Flynn is no stranger to healthy eating. As an employee of Saint Mary’s Fitness Center in Reno, she recognizes the benefits of good nutrition and shops accordingly — or so she thought. She felt confident in her grocery-shopping skills until she joined the Raley’s supermarket tour led by the fitness center’s registered and licensed dietitian, Elise Compston.
“The tour was a real eye-opener,” Flynn says. “I was surprised by how much I didn’t know, especially about reading labels.”
It’s a confession Compston hears often.
“There’s so much confusion and misinformation about food, nutrition, and labels,” she says. “My goal is to educate people so they can decipher everything themselves. I try to make eating healthfully doable.”
“Shop the perimeter first, beginning with fresh produce,” Compston says. “It’s the food with the highest antioxidants and lowest calories. Buy a variety of colors for optimum nutrition.”
Meat is the next stop. The general rule is to buy lean cuts, usually labeled Select. Beware, though, of ground meats such as turkey, even when they contain a mere 7 percent fat.
“Ground turkey is considered lean,” Compston says. “The problem is that you don’t know what parts of the turkey end up in the meat. If you buy ground breast, you know what you’re getting.”
In the dairy aisle, Compston notes that lower-fat items may have unhealthy additives or high amounts of sodium.
“Dairy products, even cheeses, are fine to eat,” she says. “Use high-fat cheeses as a garnish, and watch the sodium in reduced-fat varieties.”
“The fewer the ingredients, the better,” Compston says. “And pay close attention to serving sizes. A ‘healthy’ food may lose its benefit if you’re eating three servings instead of one.”
Check sodium and sugar amounts, too. Just because the packaging says, “No added sodium or sugar,” doesn’t mean the food is sodium and sugar free. Foods (milk is one) may naturally contain both.
Follow the rule
Choose foods with less than 5 percent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Daily Value of a nutrient you want to limit, such as sodium. Conversely, choose products with at least 20 percent of the Daily Value of preferred nutrients.
Time well spent
Martha Happ says she and her husband, Terry, are glad they took the 90-minute Raley’s tour.
“We’re trying to eat healthier,” Happ says. “What we learned keeps us from indulging in less healthy foods. Now we have no excuse for eating them!”
Freelance writer Sue Edmondson has written for various publications in Northern Nevada and California. A dedicated food-label reader, she actually knows what they mean after taking Elise Compston’s tour.
Confused by nutrition labels? Visit http://www.Fda.gov and search “how to read nutrition labels” for an easy-to-follow, comprehensive guide.
Elise Compston offers grocery tours quarterly. Costs are $25 per person or $40 for couples/buddies. To schedule, call 775-770-7898.
March is National Nutrition Month. The following events are sponsored by Saint Mary’s Fitness Center in Reno as part of this month-long emphasis on nutrition awareness:
Free mini Nutrition Boot Camp: One Small Change
9 – 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 19, at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center in Reno. Open to the public and current members. Attendees receive 10 percent discount on Nutrition Boot Camp full course, which is set for March 29.
Grocery Store Tour
9 – 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 21 at Raley’s, 1630 Robb Drive, Reno. $25 for singles, $40 for couples/buddies.
March 1 to 31. Nutrition-based posts on a variety of topics ranging from dining out to quick weekday meals, healthy snacking, pre- and post-workout nutrition, and much more. For details, visit http://www.Saintmarysfitness.com/blog.
Nutrition Boot Camp (full course)
Tuesdays, March 29 to April 19, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center in Reno. $99 for singles, $149 for couples/buddies.