Shopping with a campus dietitian

Tierney Harvey

Callie Stewart, Yemila Lowry, Brianna Ballard. Photos courtesy of Tierney Harvey

Students received grocery shopping tips right in the store at the “Shopping with the Dietitian” event Tuesday. UNF’s campus dietitian, Yamila Lowry, met a group of students at Winn Dixie on Baymeadows Rd and gave a tour of the store and advice for smart shopping. The event was sponsored by the Department of Health Promotion and Healthy Osprey.

The tour was led by the Health Promotion intern, Callie Stewart. She graduated from UNF with a degree in nutrition and dietetics and is now working with Lowry through Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Stewart and Lowry taught students what to look for on nutrition labels and ingredient lists to find the healthiest options. They also shared fun tips, like how to reduce flatulence from eating beans. According to Lowry, the trick is to rinse canned beans before eating them, or buy them dry and soak before cooking.

Grocery Shopping at Winn-Dixie. Photos courtesy of Tierney Harvey

The group met inside the store and Stewart passed out folders filled with flyers detailing nutrition information and tips. Tours are held every month with a different focus at each event. This month’s tour targeted carbs.

Stewart began by explaining what a carb is–fruit, vegetables, dairy and grains. She explained that the body processes simple and complex carbs differently and that people should look for whole fruit and whole grains.

The group walked around the store together, stopping at several points to check out different foods and nutrition labels.

The first stop was in produce. Stewart and Lowry explained that the skin and stringy inner parts of fruit provide the fiber, which is why whole fruits are healthier than juices. Stewart said when it comes to fruits and vegetables, the more colorful, the better.

The tours are limited to 20 students. Tuesday’s group was made up of Lowry, Stewart, five students, and Brianna Ballard, the Healthy Osprey ambassador. The small size of the group gave each student plenty of chances to ask questions and get personalized advice.

Photos courtesy of Tierney Harvey

In the bread aisle, Lowry and Stewart demonstrated how misleading food packaging can be. Products with words like “healthy” or “multi-grain” on the bag are not always the best choice.

“Don’t be fooled by marketing,” Lowry said. “Always read the nutrition label.” 

A piece of advice that echoed throughout the tour was to look for high fiber content and low sugar and sodium. Many processed foods have high amounts of sugar and sodium, which help to preserve the food. When it comes to processed and canned foods, Stewart recommended looking for low-sodium and low-sugar options.

Lowry said that March is National Nutrition Month and students can expect many events and opportunities to learn. Students can also schedule appointments for free and get private nutrition counseling with Lowry through the Department of Health Promotion.


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