Go shopping with your doc

With more than 39,000 products in any given grocery store, it can be challenging to find what’s healthy.

Add in the confusing labels and mixed messages from the media, sometimes you just want to ask a nutrition and health expert for advice.

Well now you can at several grocery stores from Santa Monica to Apple Valley! A community program of St. Joseph Hoag Health brings teams of doctors, nutritionists, and nurses to you -- in the aisles of the grocery store.  The program, called “Shop with Your Doc,” makes it easier for community members to access expert advice at a time when they’re making crucial everyday decisions about their health. Shoppers at local Ralph's and Food 4 Less stores can get free advice, find out about food labels, and learn about healthier food alternatives. They can also receive a free blood pressure test and a goodie bag that includes healthy meal recipes.

Through this program, St. Joseph Hoag Health isn’t just investing in Californians’ long-term health — it’s tackling the obesity problem head-on. In California, obesity affects about one out of four adults and nearly one out of three kids between the ages of 10 and 17.

Not only is Shop with Your Doc impacting obesity, St. Joseph Hoag Health is making doctors more available to everyone. Some shoppers have never spoken to health professionals about their food decisions before. “It’s about breaking down barriers, getting out of the hospital and meeting people where they are,” says Susan Watkins, a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator with St. Joseph Hoag Health’s Shop with Your Doc. She and others teach people how to read nutrition labels and answer people’s questions.

  • What kind of questions do the doctors and registered dieticians get? And how do they answer them? Here are a few examples:
  • How can I eat more whole grains? Look for less processed foods, like wild rice instead of white rice.  To get used to the texture, start with mixing in white rice with wild rice to get more nutrients and fiber into your diet.
  • How do I get my kids to eat more vegetables? They may say they don’t like veggies, but it’s likely they just haven’t found what they prefer. Try mixing it up: Prepare each vegetable in a variety of ways -- boiling, roasting, sauteeing, or raw -- to discover their own tastes.

My fruits and vegetables often go bad before I eat them. What can I do? Set yourself up for success: Early in the week, set aside time to cut up fruit and vegetables so that they’re easier to eat or cook when you’re strapped for time. Also, hide your junk food where it’s harder to access. That way you don’t fill up on unhealthy snacks and instead can make a healthier choice by eating the already-prepared produce!

St. Joseph Hoag Health is currently running the program in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino County — and it will expand the program even more in 2018. But you can also get trusted advice on your food choices right now! Play our Score Your Cart game and test your healthy shopping skills.

 

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