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Shop with Your Doc

St. Joseph Hoag Health doctors and nutritionists will be visiting three OC Ralphs and Food4Less markets on September 9-10 to give shoppers tours around the stores, answer parents’ questions about healthy eating for their kids, suggest shopping strategies, and offer easy and healthy recipes to tempt tots toward healthier eats.

Health providers everywhere are focusing on community health – preventively improving the health of populations, not just patients in hospitals already in dire health situations. The key is to appeal to the front line, where health decisions are first made. Increasingly, the place where the most important everyday health choices are made are our neighborhood supermarkets.

“The supermarket has become perhaps the most important place where we make crucial decisions about our everyday health,” said Daniel Nadeau, M.D., program director of the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center and the Dr. Kris V. Iyer endowed chair in diabetes care at Hoag.

Supermarkets have gotten harder and harder to navigate. So many brands and labels promise health benefits and sport flashy labels, but it’s really difficult to understand which products and ingredients are actually healthy.

“That is why we are partnering with Ralphs on the Shop with your Doc events: to raise awareness about how important the choices you make at the market can be, and to help educate Orange County families that eating healthy can still be fun and flavorful,” said Dr. Nadeau.

Packing lunches in this back-to-school season can be a particular challenge. Doctors and nutritionists will show parents key items to include to stave off hunger during long school days, help students keep their focus and avoid sugar and carb crashes, as well as safety tips to keep foods fresh. Processed and frozen foods might not always be the quickest and most convenient, despite what the packaging might claim. Health professionals can guide parents toward easy and affordable options to keep kids at their best.

Can’t make the event? Here are a few tips from Dr. Nadeau to get you shopping smart.

It’s important for people to spend far more time in the produce section. Colorful berries and veggies have a broad range of health benefits, including reducing blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and preventing diabetes and even cancer in some cases.

It’s important to use more whole grains, like brown rice and whole grain tortillas, instead of refined grains. Processed bread products whose first ingredients are “wheat flour” instead of “whole wheat” will be less healthy.