Grocery tour teaches 12 ways to shop and eat healthier

Grocery tour teaches 12 ways to shop and eat healthier

Does the question “What’s for dinner?” leave you baffled? Does deciphering nutrition labels leave you cross-eyed? Do you simply just want to eat healthier?

There’s help out there in the form of free, 60-minute grocery store tours with a registered dietitian guiding you through the aisles, giving tips on what to put in your cart and what to avoid. Your tour guide will also offer suggestions on how to turn these healthier grocery purchases into your next family dinner.

When we heard about these tours presented by Baton Rouge General Medical Center and hosted by three area Rouses, we signed up. One of the Baton Rouge General Health and Wellness Center’s nutritionists, Kristin West, who’s also a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, showed us around the Rouse’s Juban Crossing location. 

Note that space is limited to around 10 participants per tour, and registration is required at (click on “Event Calendar”). See accompanying list of upcoming tour dates and locations.

At the tour starting point, the guide will inquire about any particular health issues the participants may be living with, then emphasize correlating food choices along the route. 

Here are some highlights of what we learned:

THINK COLOR: In addition to the recommendation of three-four different vegetables in your diet every day, it’s important to have veggies of different hues, as they provide you with different sets of nutrients. For example, red varieties —including red onion, tomatoes and beets —  are most heart-protective

EAT YOUR SPINACH: It’s among the anti-inflammatory leafy greens and it’s versatile, i.e. you don’t have to be Popeye. “Put it in a smoothie. You can put it in a soup. You can throw it in your spaghetti sauce,” West says, adding that including spinach in a smoothie doesn’t really modify the taste.

SPEAKING OF GREENS: Typically, the darker and leafier the greens means the more nutrients it packs. Yes, you still get a lot of great nutrients from romaine lettuce, but that iceberg, fuhgettaboutit.

ABOUT THAT INFLAMMATION: It’s a very relevant issue, West advises, because all disease is rooted in a state of inflammation.  “When we fuel ourselves to just reduce that inflammation, reduce disease progression and disease risk, in the short-term we’ll have more energy, less brain fog, less gut health issues, and even enhanced weight loss,” she says.

THE GREAT DIVIDE: An easy rule of thumb is half your plate at lunch and dinner should be loaded with non-starchy vegetables. That does two things: It helps keep your calories and your carbohydrates controlled and also boosts your nutrient intake.

SALAD SOLUTIONS: If you don’t have time to chop up all the components, grab items like shredded carrots to speed prep time. Salad dressings, meanwhile, are tricky toppings. Don’t just read the front of the package, but flip it over and check out the ingredients list. Avoid inflammatory oils, such as soybean and canola oils, and if sugar is the first ingredient, put it back on the shelf.

SNACKING ON THE GO: Think raw veggies, including celery, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet bell peppers. Add interest with salsa, guacamole and hummus as dips.

CONSIDER KALE: Yes, that chewy, bitter stuff in the bags. West says the key to learning to love it is to roast it in the oven until it’s crispy like potato chips. Season and add a bit of olive oil, and voilà: a healthy side dish or snack. Same goes for Brussels sprouts (good for the liver). If you don’t like them, roast them. You’ll be surprised.  

THE MISUNDERSTOOD SPUD: Although they do have carbs, potatoes are a real food (one ingredient, no additives or preservatives), don’t be carb-phobic, be carb-conscious. For a side dish they’re fine, just watch the serving size, and of course, don’t fry them. Fun fact: Sweet potatoes are the lowest among the spuds as far as glycemic (blood glucose) numbers; red potatoes are moderate; and russet the highest.

DON’T FORGET FRUIT: Even if you deal with blood sugar issues, you should still consume two fruits a day because of the nutrients gained, according to West. And eat the peel when edible, as that’s where all the fiber is hiding. Eating fresh or frozen fruit is better than drinking a store-bought fruit smoothie, as that can be too much of a good thing at one time in terms of sugar and calories.

MAKE IT AT HOME: When you blend your own smoothies, you can regulate portions and thus watch the calories and carbs. If it’s a large banana, use half of it; limit grapes to 15 or so; choose moderately sized apples, not the giant ones. Helpful hint: When fruits are on sale, buy in bulk, slice them and freeze them. When it’s smoothie time, they’re ready to go, and you won’t even need ice.

PROTEIN ON YOUR PLATE: Protein intake promotes bone health, muscle mass and a stable blood sugar level. Fresh, leaner cuts of beef and pork are best (look for selections with “loin” in the title). Marinate meats at home, as those that are pre-marinated tend to contain extra sodium and additives. When debating ground beef vs. ground turkey, choose the one you like. As long as the beef has a low fat ratio (93/7 is best), don’t worry about settling for that pale turkey.


(Note: All tours start at 10 a.m.)  

Rouses Market Bluebonnet, 7580 Bluebonnet Blvd. — Aug. 10, Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Nov. 9 and Dec. 14

Rouses Market Juban Crossing, 10130 Crossing Way, Suite 300, Denham Springs — Aug. 17, Sept. 21, Oct. 19, Nov. 16 and Dec. 21

Rouses Market Zachary, 2300 Church St.,  Building 7, Zachary — Aug. 3, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7


About Mary Weyand 2622 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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