What's happening at Hy-Vee: grocery shopping is fun again!
By Kate Schmitz, Health Coach
Most of us know how time-consuming and tedious grocery shopping can be. And when we toss in a health need or goal, going through the aisles can even be exhausting. The good news is that things are gradually changing in the food environment. Thanks to some progressive moves by one of our local grocery stores, grocery shopping in New Ulm just got a little easier – and a little healthier.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike McAlpin, manager of Hy-Vee’s kitchen, and Lindsay Dalluge, RDN, Hy-Vee’s dietitian, and grew excited about the fun and exciting things happening both in the kitchen and aisles. Both Mike and Lindsay shared thoughts on how listening to what the consumers want has led to many positive, healthy changes throughout the store.
Mike admits that this wasn’t necessarily the case when he started at Hy-Vee. Even though he wanted to make many healthy options available, his business sense kicked in, and he knew that going slow and steady would be the best way to introduce his customers to new, healthy flavors. By making gradual changes to his menu and recipes, and with Lindsay’s support, more people are now asking for healthier choices.
So what are some of these healthier happenings? According to Lindsay, the focus in their deli has been to modify many of their recipes to meet lower-fat guidelines and to offer more heart-healthy food items. “More and more customers are requesting healthy options, and we are happy to say our business is growing in this area,” Lindsay says. “We are now offering several options for lower fat salads, and we offer fresh fruit and raw veggies on a daily basis both to purchase and as a side for a meal.”
“You will see less mayo-based salads, more whole grain salads and more veggie based salads, and the hot food area incorporates salmon, grilled chicken and steamed veggies on a regular basis,” she added. “Our plan is to gradually add more and more healthy options to inspire healthy habits.”
Lindsay and Mike also encourage customers to ask for samples of anything! They say that the kitchen staff is more than happy to sample any of their menu options.
As a full time grocery store Registered Dietitian, Lindsay is passionate about her work. One of her favorite aspects of her job is giving complimentary grocery store tours. With the multitude of foods available, tours are a great way to customize a shopping trip, point out new healthy foods and help customers figure out food labels. At Hy-Vee, tours are available for anyone – individually or in groups – and can be scheduled easily. Lindsay‘s tours are typically about one hour long, which allows time for personalizing your shopping experience. Learning how to incorporate newer foods such as quinoa, flax, and ancient grain varieties, as well as more familiar healthy foods such as beans and legumes, is just one topic of what a tour might include.
Participating in a grocery store tour with an RD is a great way to debunk nutrition myths and learn more about current trends. It is also a great way to sample new foods or taste foods that you have been curious about. Santa Claus melon? Lemon Drop melon? Who knew there were so many different types of melons available? Lindsay is happy to sample new varieties of produce, and she even designates her current favorites with a purple sticker to inform shoppers of a featured food item.
For those wanting a lifestyle change, Lindsay offers a 10-week challenge where individual and weekly goals are addressed. Individual consultations are also available. Find more information about various programs and Lindsay’s contact information here.
Grocery stores are changing, and making healthy meals is easier than ever. Whether it’s picking up healthy items from the deli (we all need a break from cooking at times!) or experimenting with a new grain, or learning how to plan a healthy meal with Lindsay, grocery shopping can be a fun, educational experience.