Free, healthy advice on a 'Grocery Store Tour'

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Before you finish that next grocery list, how about a personal shopper to help you pick the healthiest items for your family?

It's a trip we all have to make from time to time, but grocery shopping would be so much easier and healthier, if someone could tell you to buy this, not that.

Pat Sherwood went shopping at the Food City in Maryville Wednesday and she said wanted a Grocery Store Tour, "To learn how to read labels, and to learn healthy issues such as gluten free or heart healthy."

The guided tour is lead by dietitians from UT Medical Center.

Linda Quimby is a Clinical Dietitian and she said, "We love to provide education at every possible opportunity, and outreach into the community is one great way that we can do that."

Quimby showed Pat that what we eat, and how it's prepared makes all the difference. "Especially obesity, which is a big thing in our country and especially in Tennessee," she said.

The first step is to watch what aisles you walk down. Quimby said, "We always recommend shopping the perimeter of the store." That's where you'll find the fresh foods.

"Foods that are processed that come in boxes, and those things that are in the freezer section, like pot-pies or frozen dinners," is what you she said to avoid.

Read the labels first, but don't just stop at the fat and calories. Sodium is a big one to watch out for, according to Quimby. She said, "Especially with our processed foods, processed meats, cheese is a big one that has a lot of salt that people don't realize."

Sherwood enjoyed her grocery shopping less, and said, "I guess meats was one of the big things [Wednesday] that helped me the most, lean beef and fish."

One of the best lessons to take home from this tour, the healthiest meals can be the ones that you prepare. "It brings people around the table again, and that in itself helps to fight obesity as well as promote really good health," Quimby said.

The next Grocery Store Tour is in Sevierville, in July 25. It will be at the Food City, 741 Dolly Parton Parkway, at 10:30 a.m. Please call 865-305-6877 or register online by clicking date above. The tour is free, but space is limited so registration is required.

Special group tours are available upon request.

For more information and other advice from the UT Medical Center staff, CLICK HERE.

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