Have you ever found yourself wandering the aisles of the grocery store
trying to make healthy choices only to find that some products that claim
to be “healthy” contain high amounts of sodium, sugar, trans
fats or saturated fats?
The challenge can be even greater for those who have been advised by their
doctors to follow specific dietary instructions to prevent the reoccurrence
of a major health event like a heart attack or stroke, or to manage their diabetes.
To help these patients, members of Frederick Memorial Hospital’s
Care Transitions team, along with registered FMH dietitians, lead helpful
grocery store tours. The tours are specifically designed for patients
who want to improve their health through better nutrition and each tour
is specifically tailored to a specific topic, audience, or health condition.
Members of Frederick’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community recently
attended a tour at a local Weis Market led by registered dietitian Emily
Spear. As the group made their way up and down the aisles, Emily would
stop at various products to point out the potential pitfalls in certain
labeling, such as salad dressings labeled as “low-fat” that
are loaded with extra sodium and sugar.
Along the way, she also took questions from the tour participants on topics
such as the nutritional value of fresh versus canned vegetables. “If
you rinse canned vegetables it will eliminate some of the extra sodium,”
she explained. “Cans labeled ‘No Added Salt’ or ‘Low
Sodium’ can be as nutritious as fresh vegetables, too.”
For Dawn Watts, who is an active advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing
community and who also suffers from heart disease, the tour was informative
and much-needed for her and other members of her community. “Both
of my parents had heart attacks and my doctor has told me I have high
cholesterol as well, so I'm trying to follow his orders, but it can
be hard because there aren’t a lot of resources or information for
people in the deaf world.”
With the help of an American Sign Language interpreter, Dawn and the other
tour members benefitted from Emily's tips on how to make better food
choices; such as choosing brown rice over white rice, since brown rice
is higher in fiber and more nutrient-dense than white rice.
Pam Niziolek wanted to know more about how to prevent Type 2 diabetes and
attended a tour specifically targeted toward that topic. “I had
been trying to watch my carbohydrates and the tour was really helpful
in showing us how to shop, and where to look on the labels for things
like additional salt or sugar,” she said. “It definitely made
me more aware of what I should be watching for.”
Pam is now trying to incorporate more whole grain pasta and different grains
into her diet, and is also using her spiralizer to make veggie noodles.
“We are all creatures of habit,” she said, noting that she
tends to prepare the same foods, the same way. She appreciated that the
tour showed her how to try different foods or make creative substitutions
that can “spice things up” while also helping her eat healthy.
If you would like to be notified of upcoming grocery store tours, or are
a member of a community group that would like to schedule a group tour, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 240-549-2053.
Download Healthy Eating Supermarket Guidelines
Download a Diabetes-Friendly Supermarket Roadmap
Download a Salt-conscious Shopping List - Safeway
Download a Salt-conscious Shopping List - Weis