MELROSE PARK, Ill. -- Health conscious consumers seeking daily diet options need not fear the Center Store. In fact, it's a good place to start, according to Jewel-Osco's new registered dietician, Melissa Joy Buoscio.
The retailer here recently kicked off its "Nutrition in Focus" program, focusing on what consumers should be including in their daily diets rather than what they should avoid. Buoscio is visiting Jewel-Osco stores throughout the Midwest, conducting store tours and presentations. Her nutritional expertise is also available to consumers in a question and answer format via the company's Web site.
"People have to make realistic changes," said Buoscio. "Working on that premise, I try to wipe away the myths about fad diets and that there are good foods and bad foods."
One of the most persistent misconceptions of nutritional lore is that snacking is inherently unhealthy. But, Buoscio stresses the importance of moderate and informed snacking, and says the snack aisles are full of nutritious choices.
"Snacking actually helps control hunger," she points out. "Salsa is a great snack item. It has vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. And it's fat free."
In addition, she includes items like Nutragrain cereal bars and calcium fortified frozen yogurt as healthy snacking alternatives.
Buoscio also aims to debunk the myth of the malevolent potato chip, shunning deprivation and the good food/bad food dichotomy. While educating consumers about comparing labels and pointing out the benefits of a baked chip over the standard version, Buoscio still maintains that the occasional full-fat variety can be part of a balanced diet. She emphasizes portion control as a primary goal, citing snack-size bags of chips as a good way to keep snacking under control.
The frozen category offers consumers smart options and, as Buoscio points out, taking a frozen entree to work is a lot healthier than running to the nearest fast food restaurant.
Combining frozen food with other items is another good way to make the most of the category. For example, frozen dinners can be combined with a salad or a roll. Or, for breakfast, waffles could be paired with fresh fruit and reduced-fat cream cheese for a well-rounded meal, she said.