Supermarket Savvy RD’s: Tour Your Stores
Grocery stores are the primary food shopping places for Americans. As dietitians, we are always educating our clients on portion sizes, food choices, and food labels. Well, what better opportunity to empower your clients with their food choices while recommending specific products to them directly in the grocery store? Read on to learn how you can start conducting your own grocery store tours.
#1. Pick a Theme. Have a specific topic or goal for the tour. Gluten-free? Carbohydrate counting? Food label reading? Products for quick meal assembly? Maria A. Bella, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Top Balance Nutrition in New York City and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet, customizes her grocery store tours depending on the client’s needs.
#2. Time Your Tour. Bella advises to map out the store and time yourself prior to conducting your tour to familiarize yourself with the products provided, the store layout, and the timeliness of the tour. If you advertise the tour as an hour, you want to stick to that timeframe.
#3. Market the Tour. Barbara Ruhs, MS, RD, LDN, expert supermarket dietitian for Bashas’ Family of Stores, recommends working with a group or organization so they can help market the tour to their members/employees in order to get at least 20 people for a tour. Bella generally conducts tours for only 1-2 people at a time, so she advertises through her website and private practice.
#4. Collaborate with the Store. Ruhs works directly with the grocery stores. Tours can be just the beginning of additional client education ranging from food demonstrations with specific products to writing articles for the store’s newsletter to setting up a table with flyers and education materials. Contact the store manager with a formal letter. Click here to see a sample letter from Joslin’s Supermarket SmartsTM Tour Kit. Working with the store manager can allow you to conduct tours for bigger groups of people to get your message to the masses.
#5. Develop Your Handouts/Materials. Ruhs offers her clients education materials to take home with them such as guides for picking produce, selecting leaner meats, choosing oils and salad dressings, and more. You can also provide recipe handouts, sample shopping lists, deli comparison charts and more. The options are endless.
Hands-on experience is so helpful for many so get to the grocery store and tour with your clients on how to shop, which products to buy, and what to look for in food labels.
1. Shopping Matters for WIC Parents Facilitator Resource Guide, August 2011
2. Click here to get further Training on Shopping Matters for Adults
3. Click here to get further training on Shopping Matters for WIC Parents
4. Great website for further tools and information: Share Our Strength. The website also has opportunities for RD’s to conduct store tours.