Have you ever wandered the supermarket or grocery store, confused by food labels, wishing you had someone to help you navigate the aisles and make healthier choices? Many supermarket chains are hiring registered dietitians (RDs), food and nutrition experts, to help customers right where they shop.
Whether you’re learning to manage a medical condition or just want to bring home more good-for-you foods, a registered dietitian can show a parent how to make healthier choices without the need to spend a lot of time in the store, says Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Supermarket RDs can help busy parents fit healthy shopping into their budgets and schedules, while passing on science-based nutrition information.
Nutrition Information When You Need It
Supermarket RDs provide nutrition knowledge when and where you need it most: while shopping the grocery aisles for family meals. They may offer classes on cooking, nutrition or food safety (helpful during holidays) or share this information through store websites, newsletters and recipes.
Learn How to Manage Your Family's Needs
Caregivers shopping for a household may juggle multiple dietary needs at once. An RD can show them how to shop for family members with food allergies, diabetes and special diets (such as gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, low-sodium). Supermarket RDs who offer in-store consultations can also help you and your family manage health concerns by providing counseling sessions and monitoring weight, cholesterol levels, heart rate and blood pressure.
Discover New Foods, Discover Your Store
RDs can also introduce you to new foods and ingredient substitutes you may not have considered. “Those healthy alternatives are out there but most people have no idea where to find them,” says Karen Ansel, MS, RD, CDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. An RD can help you feel confident walking around the supermarket and creating a meal with the foods you bring home. Many offer supermarket tours, cooking demos, tasting events, guided shopping trips and classes on label reading, product-comparison and budget-shopping.
Each Supermarket RD is Unique
Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FADA, Supermarket Subgroup Chair of the Food and Culinary Professionals group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, points out that the services that registered dietitians offer vary from chain to chain. Check your store’s website or speak to the manager to learn if they have an RD and the benefits that may be available to you and your family.
Reviewed March 2013