Most of us want to eat healthier. We tell ourselves that we’re going to start eating healthier tomorrow. Or maybe the day after that. Or after the party at the neighbour’s house. I’ve been really focusing on this for the past year and a half but it was only recently that I started taking some steps forward. I’m not much of an all or nothing cold-turkey kind of person – I do much better with gradual change and baby steps but I really was unsure of where or how to begin. So, I decided that a good first step would be to consult a dietitian. And thankfully, my local Loblaw store makes that really easy.
Did you know that select stores within the Loblaw family have a free in-store dietitian program? That’s right, I said FREE! You may have seen their kiosks in your local store. I know I had glanced at the kiosk, even picked up a few recipes and flyers from time to time and seen the dietitian doing some healthy cooking demonstrations there but it took me a while to finally look into what other services are offered.
I have been a long-time Loblaw customer and it really makes me happy to see just how dedicated they are to the health and wellness of their customers. They have provided Registered Dietitians to give their customers expert advice right there in the store where they are buying their food. It just makes sense!
The dietitians offer a wide range of services including:
- Providing nutrition check-ups to assess dietary habits
- Grocery store tours to identify healthier choices
- Health and wellness workshops and lunch and learns tailored to your group’s needs
- Developing custom meal plans based on dietary needs
- Interactive cooking classes and demos
- Tips for helping your whole family eat healthier, including encouraging your children to try new foods
I met with Lisa Doerr, the registered dietitian at the Wonderland and Southdale Road Loblaws location in London, Ontario. Prior to my visit, I had indicated to her that one of my key areas of concern is my cholesterol. A very close relative of mine had a stroke 1 1/2 years ago and that of course made me aware of my own risk. I went to the doctor and at that time my blood pressure was high and so was my bad cholesterol. A few months ago, I followed up again and although my blood pressure has normalized, my bad cholesterol is even higher and my good cholesterol is even lower. As my doctor put it, “this is something you need to take really seriously”.
So we started off with some general questions about my health and lifestyle. Lisa assured me that all information is locked up in the pharmacy and is kept in the strictest of confidence. She can’t even release it to my family doctor unless I authorize it in writing! It was good to know that I could be completely open and honest.
I have some issues that complicate my goal of healthier eating. Of course, there’s the cholesterol, but along with that I have Crohn’s disease and food allergies. The Crohn’s and my lifestyle working from home as a blogger and social media manager make regular meals a challenge. Lisa helped me work through those challenges and came up with a simple but doable plan.
I complained (ok, let’s be honest, I whined) about how complicated I found it to keep my cholesterol within healthy limits. Counting cholesterol grams on every thing i eat just isn’t feasible but Lisa showed me how to read the nutrition labels on the foods I buy and instead of looking at the dietary cholesterol, she encouraged me to choose foods that are lower in saturated fat. In fact, if I stick to foods that are low in saturated fat most of the time (5% or less) and only rarely consume the ones higher in saturated fat (15% and above), I don’t have to count anything! That’s a win in my books.
She went on to show me how to easily increase my fibre intake (while taking the Crohn’s and food allergies into consideration), what foods to stock in my pantry at all times so that I always have something nutritious on hand, and came up with a meal by meal plan to encourage me to increase my healthy food intake. I have a nasty habit of skipping meals because I’m too busy working and they just seem so time-consuming but Lisa sent me home with a workable plan that will fit into my lifestyle with ease. In fact, I’ve already been implementing it and it’s working beautifully for me.
If you are ready to make some changes towards healthier eating, I highly encourage you to check out your local Loblaw family of stores and see if they have the registered dietitian program in place. There are so many theories out there about what healthy eating is and it can be confusing to decipher them on your own. Why not arm yourself with all of the tools you have at your disposal to make sure you are you are fully informed and that you have a simple plan that fits into your lifestyle?
I am happy to have had the opportunity to meet with a Loblaw dietitian and share my experience with you. I was compensated for this post but all ideas and opinions are my own.