As some grocers engage in tests of aisles that pair meals made in minutes, United Supermarkets' corporate dietitian, Dr. Tyra Carter, is encouraging shoppers to make meals from scratch.
“Anytime you prepare foods at home they're generally healthier than ones that are pre-prepared,” she said.
As part of the Delicious Family Meals program, recipes are distributed on a bimonthly basis in the chain's Market Street banner stores. Each Thursday samples of a different Delicious Family Meal are demoed in-store.
In addition to being delicious and cost effective, meals included in the program must also be low in sodium, fat, cholesterol and contain zero trans fat.
The program, which began last September, is gaining favor with Baby Boomers who've been told by their doctors to lower their sodium intake. Carter related that cutting down on sodium isn't as simple as putting down the salt shaker.
“Eighty percent or more of the sodium we consume is from processed or prepared foods,” she explained. “So the sodium is already in it when you put it in your cart.”
Meals like Best-Ever Burgers with Grilled Stone Fruit and Grilled Sesame Green Beans can be prepared for under $10.
She keeps ingredient costs low by choosing private labels where it makes sense.
Lower price points make it easy for shoppers to maintain a healthy diet, rather than rely on fast foods, Carter said.
“Sometimes people are just trying to get the most food that they can for the least amount of money,” she acknowledged. “Usually foods that are less nourishing are also less expensive.”