Are you looking for some inspiration to eat a little healthier? (Who isn't?) Or maybe learn more about eating Gluten free? Or how about cooking for diabetic needs? Let me tell you about a great FREE resource right here in Western Mass for all of these needs and more. Your local Big Y store.
Big Y offers grocery store tours led by a registered dietitian on different nutritional topics each week. Eden and I recently attended a "Kid's Plate" store tour with Sue Mazrolle, MSRD, LDN at the East Longmeadow location. All tours meet in the store cafe and last about an hour. We started off playing a nutritional guessing game, had a lesson in the new My Plate food guide (like the old food pyramid), and then headed off on our tour. Sue gave us some great tips on how to incorporate more produce into our meals, how to compare nutrition labels on cereal boxes and yogurt containers, and how to fill our grocery cart with lower sodium products. Then we returned back to the cafe to make and enjoy a small snack and collect some recipe cards, coloring pages, and coupons from Sue before departing.
We had a lot of fun and I actually learned a lot during the hour, even though this particular tour was geared toward children. Eden enjoyed herself as well. Being an allergic family, I pride myself on being a champion label reader, but Sue taught me to go beyond the ingredients list to compare protein counts, sugar amounts, and the amount of dietary fiber between products in order to make the healthiest choice. She answered all of our questions and somehow kept my nine-year-old entertained the entire time we were in the grocery store -- something I've never been able to achieve.
You can find a list of upcoming grocery store tours on the Living Well Eating Smart section of the Big Y website. The tour schedule varies monthly at locations in Western Mass and Northern Connecticut. Sue is also available to lead tours for scout troops and civic organizations. If you'd like to find out more, you can reach her at (413) 531-3490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.