By Wayne Allen
Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Heart and Vascular Services has a program aimed at helping the community make better food choices, when grocery shopping. The “Heart Smart Cart” program is offered monthly and involves an SOMC Registered Dietitian going grocery shopping with you and a group of people at Portsmouth Kroger.
The dietitian will help participants choose healthy foods; interpret food labels and a number of other things.
“This started with our Health and Vascular Services; they were looking for ways to educate patients and the community on how to eat healthier. One of our dietitians came up with the idea of actually taking them to the grocery store,” said Nicki Welch, program spokeswoman.
She said the program has been in place for a number of years, but is not well known in the community.
“Once or twice a month we’ll set up groups and take them to Kroger, where we’ll teach them how to read food labels, answer questions on ways to still be nutritious and watch sodium, fat and cholesterol on a budget,” Welch said.
She said typically the groups are restricted to five or six people so the dietitian can work with the group. She said those that have participated in the program, gave it positive reviews.
There are a number of other advantages to eating healthier foods.
“If we can help they choose healthier foods and do it on a budget, it’s really beneficial,” Welch said. “We can tell people to eat healthy, eat low fat foods. Unless they know how to look for those foods, a lot of people assume they can’t afford to do it and don’t try,”
Anyone can participate in the program; you do not have to be a patient at SOMC. The program is free to the community; the only charge is purchasing the food.
“When they call we can let them know what day and time we’re doing it that month. If they can’t make it that month we can set them up for the following month,” Welch said.
For more information or to register for the Heart Smart Cart Program call 740-356-8649.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT