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Let’s just say Liz and I now know what it is like to drive for a living. Monday we drove an hour to be at the St. James Community Center for 9am only to be directed to the nearest Walmart for a grocery store tour for the Head Start parents. By the way, the Wally World is 30 minutes away in Donaldsonville. We made it over to see the end stretch of the 8:30am tour and the full 10:30am tour. We were delighted to taste caramel rice cakes and chicken tortilla roll-up thingys after walking around the store listening to a “nutrition educator” talk about what she thought was important in a grocery store. Not exactly sure what training this lady has in nutrition at the LSU AgCenter Extension, but I can say I was disappointed in her delivery of factual information.

Things about a grocery store that are not important but are very important to a “nutrition educator”:

1. YOU MUST EAT ALLLLLLLL VEGETABLESSSSSS ARRGGHH

– no you don’t have to eat all the veggies in the store. Also, please DON’T put cream of mushroom soup and handfuls of cheese on top of cauliflower. This is not an effective way to enjoy the vegetable. And your salad does not have to be only spinach. Experiment with different types of leafy greens. I would never tell someone to eat something they know they hate, but it takes a few times to acquire a taste so keep trying it out! Also, Miss nutrition educator, vegetables do not have “TONNSSSS of protein to keep you full.”

2. Rinse your 93% fat free ground meat after you cook it to get rid of all the fat and grease.

– I don’t believe this at all. You need fat in the diet and if you use 93% lean ground beef you are already cutting out plenty of fat. I would drain. Do not rinse the delicious flavors off. Plus, who rinses cooked ground meat?! Ew.

3. Tilapia frozen in individual packs is from China. Don’t eat it because the expiration date says April 2014. How could it be good that long??!!

– My opinion? Eat the fish. I would rather people eat frozen fish over no fish at all. Also, that’s the point of freezing. It stays fresher longer. But do watch the expiration date on all meat, fish, poultry and dairy. The nutrition educator was quick to discourage the tilapia but never gave an alternative. Well if I can’t eat it, then what can I eat? That’s what I was thinking.

4. If you get juice for your children only let them drink it if they have water after to wash the sugar off the teeth. Then only allow children to drink milk before bed.

– Um NO. I absolutely 100% am against juice for children. Also milk is one thing children shouldn’t have at night in bed because the lactose or sugars stick to the teeth creating dental caries. So wrong. No wonder the general public is confused about nutrition. When in doubt, just don’t buy juice. But if you do, cut it with 3/4 water 1/4 juice. And only 4 oz (1/2 cup) per day. Which we all know is not what 100% of children are getting. More like 4 cups.

5. Yes, Froot Loops are fine. I just saw on the top of the box they are made with whole grains.

– I could scream. Yes, Kellogg’s does a fabulous job of advertising whole grains in their cereals. And guess what the #1 ingredient in Froot Loop would be. Did you guess sugar? Well you are correct. Not exactly what we want our children to have to jump start the morning. Oh look! The ingredients in Froot Loops are below. Never thought about trans fats in cereal? Think again!

Sugar, whole grain corn flour, wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, oat fiber, soluble corn fiber, contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), salt, red 40, natural flavor, blue 2, turmeric color, yellow 6, annatto color, blue 1, BHT for freshness.

Liz and I kept our mouths shut tight yesterday but today we got lucky. The nutrition educator lost her voice. Whoop! Time to take over and show these parents a real grocery store tour and what’s important. We talked about why 100% whole grain is something to look for and why trying new things encourages children to eat more and why yogurt is a good after school snack. These parents needed to understand the reasons we were pointing out certain items. And they were much more interested today…if I can brag a little.

On the plus side I found two products I will be purchasing ASAP and using on a daily basis. Here they are.

Almond butter with maple? Yes please. And only 3g of sugar per 2 Tbsp!
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Pumpkin spice butter!! I think instead of buying this I will make my own. Stay tuned for results on that experiment!

Other things I noticed while on the tour.

“Lactose free” yogurt. Which Liz and I discovered still had lactose, but also contains lactase. This is what those who are lactose intolerant eat when drinking or eating lactose in order to not have digestion issues.

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I don’t know exactly what this is because it is in Spanish. But a customer purchasing these yesterday told me they help her digestion. I suppose it is like a probiotic…but Spanish…
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Tomorrow the whole group of interns is off to Pennington Biomedical Research Center for a seminar on Childhood Obesity. Very exciting!

I also need to mention I finally got my long run in before the half marathon this weekend. I ran 10 miles on Saturday a little faster than goal pace for this Saturday. This week, I ran a recovery 3 miles and I plan on cross training and foam rolling until Friday. The weather is looking to be on my side too!!

Until next time! Eat Smart and Move More.

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