The aisle is the best classroom

Published 4:16 pm Saturday, March 10, 2012

Where else can you interact with your food, be educated about it and decide to buy it all at the same time? As a supermarket dietitian, my responsibility each and every day is to promote and translate science-based nutrition information into practical information for consumers. In honor of National Nutrition Month and National Registered Dietitian Day on March 14, here are ten things a supermarket dietitian can do for you:

1. Teach you how to cook. Cooking at home will help you eat healthier. You can get recipe ideas from cooking demonstrations and classes, or go to the recipe display center at the front of the store.

2. Educate about reading labels and NuVal.

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3. Improve fruit and vegetable consumption. Who wouldn’t want education in the produce aisle to help with picking, storing and using fruits and vegetables? It’s a guaranteed way to eat more fruits and veggies.

4. Manage food allergies. This is a growing trend and recently our HealthMarket expanded to include more gluten-free and allergy-friendly products.

5. Media communications. From writing newspaper articles to a weekly television segment on ABC 6 Wednesday mornings at 6:10 a.m., you can find recipe ideas and be educated about hot topics in nutrition with minimal time investment on your part.

6. Teach kids about nutrition. Every kids’ cooking class is focused on staying healthy through food. And the Sprouts-Get Out and Grow garden and cooking program will start its second season this spring at our store.

7. Dispense credible nutrition information in a practical manner. It is my responsibility to clear through the hype and focus on what is true and provide that information to you, the consumer. If you are told by your doctor to follow a 1500-mg sodium diet, what does that actually look like in terms of food? A supermarket dietitian can show you.

8. Promote wellness. Have you taken a tour of the grocery store lately? There are thousands of foods available, but not enough time to look at all of them while you are shopping. This tour gives you the knowledge to smarten up your cart.

The next Supermarket Smart Cart Tour is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, April 4. The cost is $5 and you can register by contacting me at the store.

9. Make connections in the food system from field to fork. Cage–free, organic, no antibiotics —so many foods terms. Let the dietitian be your guide to the food system.

10. Improve the dietitian image. Many times I hear customers say they “can’t eat this” or “they can’t eat that.” At the supermarket, my goal is to show you what you can eat and focus on the positive benefits of food.

 Tex-mex Frittata

Serves 6

All you need

•2 tbsp canola oil

•1 (32 ounce) package frozen Hy-Vee O’Brien potatoes

•6 large eggs, beaten

•1⁄4 cup water

•1 tsp oregano

•1⁄2 tsp salt

•1⁄4 tsp ground black pepper

•1⁄2 cup shredded reduced-fat Colby Jack cheese

•1 cup black bean and corn salsa

 All you do

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add frozen potatoes, arrange in a single layer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir well and cook, without stirring, for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Whisk together eggs, water, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour over potato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until edges are golden. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before topping with salsa.

Nutrition facts per serving: 270 calories, 12g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 220mg cholesterol, 560mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, 12g protein.

Daily values: 15% vitamin A, 20% vitamin C, 10% calcium, 6% iron.