Is the question “What’s for dinner?” leave you confused? Does perusing nutrition labels make your eyes watery? Do you just want to eat healthy?
There’s help in the form of a free, 60-minute grocery store tour with a registered dietitian, who guides you through the aisles, giving tips on what to put in your cart and what not. No. Your tour guide will also provide tips on how to turn these healthy grocery shopping into your next family dinner.
When we heard about these tours offered by Baton Rouge General Medical Center and hosted by Three Area Rouges, we signed up. Kristin West, who is also a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, showed us around Rouse’s tongue-crossing location, one of the nutritionists at the Baton Rouge General Health and Wellness Center.
Note that space is limited to approximately 10 participants per tour, and registration is required at https://www.brgeneral.org/ (click on “Events Calendar”). See an accompanying list of upcoming tour dates and locations.
At the starting point of the tour, the guide will inquire about any particular health issues participants may be living with, then emphasize related food options along the route.
Here are some glimpses of what we learned:
Think Color: In addition to the recommended three to four different vegetables in your diet every day, it’s important to have vegetables of different colors, as they provide you with a variety of nutrients. For example, red varieties — including red onions, tomatoes and beets — are the most heart-protective.
Eat Your Spinach: It’s one of the anti-inflammatory leafy greens and it’s versatile, meaning you don’t need to be Popeye. “Put it in a smoothie. You can put it in a soup. You can throw it in your spaghetti sauce,” says West, adding that including spinach in a smoothie doesn’t really modify the flavor.
Speaking of greens: Typically, the darker and leafy the greens are, which means the more nutrients they contain. Yes, you still get a lot of nutrients from romaine lettuce, but that iceberg, fuhgetboutit.
About that swelling: This is a very relevant issue, West advises, because all disease is rooted in a state of inflammation. “When we fuel ourselves to reduce that inflammation, disease progression and disease risk, in the short term we have more energy, less brain fog, fewer gut health issues, and even fewer problems.” That will increase the weight loss as well.”
great Divide: A simple rule of thumb is half your plate at lunch and dinner should be filled with non-starchy vegetables. It does two things: it helps you control your calories and your carbohydrates and also increases your nutrient intake.
Salad Solution: If you don’t have time to chop up all the components, take items such as shredded carrots to speed up the preparation time. Salad dressings, meanwhile, are tricky toppings. Don’t just read the front of the package, but flip it over and look at the ingredients list. Avoid inflammatory oils like soybean and canola oil, and if sugar is the first ingredient, put it back on the shelf.
Snacking on the go: Think raw vegetables, including celery, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet bell peppers. Add interest with salsa, guacamole and hummus as dips.
Consider black: Yes, that chewy, bitter stuff in the bag. West says the key to learning to love it is to roast it in the oven until it’s crisp like potato chips. Season and drizzle with a little olive oil, and voila: a healthy side dish or snack. The same goes for Brussels sprouts (good for the liver). If you don’t like them, fry them. you wonder.
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. They’re fine for a side dish, just watch the serving size, and of course, don’t fry them. Fun fact: Sweet potatoes are the lowest in spuds as a glycemic (blood glucose) number; Red potatoes are medium; And the highest russet.
Don’t forget the fruit: Even if you’re struggling with blood sugar problems, you should still consume two fruits a day, as the nutrients are available, according to West. And eat the peel when it is edible, because that’s where all the fiber is hidden. Eating fresh or frozen fruit is better than drinking a store-bought fruit smoothie, as it can be too much of a single good thing in terms of sugar and calories.
Make it at home: When you mix up your smoothies, you can control portions and thus watch calories and carbs. If it’s a large banana, use half of it; Limit grapes to 15 or so; Choose medium sized apples, not large ones. Helpful hint: When fruits are on sale, buy in bulk, chop them up, and freeze them. When it’s an easy time, they’re ready to go, and you won’t even need ice.
Protein on your plate: Consuming protein promotes bone health, muscle mass and a stable blood sugar level. Fresh, lean cuts of beef and pork are best (see the selection with “loin” in the title). Marinate meats at home, as those that are pre-marinated have extra sodium and additives. When debating ground beef versus ground turkey, choose the one you like best. As long as the beef has a low fat ratio (93/7 is best), don’t worry about settling for that pale turkey.
places of travel
(Note: All journeys start at 10 am)
Rouse Market Bluebonnet, 7580 Bluebonnet Blvd. 10 August, 14 September, 12 October, 9 November and 14 December
Rouse Market Tongue Crossing, 10130 Crossing Way, Suite 300, Denham Springs – August 17, September 21, October 19, November 16 and December 21
Rouse Market Zachary, 2300 Church St, Building 7, Zachary – August 3, September 7, October 5, November 2 and December 7