The Personalized Nutrition update is a weekly e-newsletter which covers the latest interesting news in nutritional genomics, personalized nutrition, digital health and functional foods. The news picks are by Mariette Abrahams MBA RD, a nutrition consultant and registered dietitian nutritionist who is passionate about moving healthcare into the precision and prevention age, by helping companies and practitioners to understand developments in the area of nutritional genomics & personalized nutrition. Mariette is currently open to joint venture and consulting opportunities.
Down at HQ
So yesterday I did my first supermarket tour with a client to help with developing a personalized nutrition plan. Here are a few things I learnt;
1. Keep track of timing
In order to do a good tour, you need to time yourself because it is very different from sitting in a consultation room where you are aware of how much time it can take. Depending on the size of the supermarket and the range they offer, you can easily lose track of time. As a serious foodie myself, I can easily spend half an hour in the world food section….not good when you need to do other things. Set yourself a goal and tell the client how long it will take and that you may need to speed things up at times.
2. You should know how to cook
Over the years, I have learnt that it takes a lot of effort for people to try new recipes that you send them. In a supermarket it is a lot easier for them to point out the things they already eat and how to make it healthier. I could easily think of simple recipes that did not need any measuring or complex ingredients. If your client can visualise the end product they may be more eager to try something new. My idea was to try a roast veggie recipe with ricotta cheese and rocket for lunch without needing to look in a book and just eyeball the amounts, this went down very well. The supermarket is full of ingredients and products, make it come to life by giving simple options that don´t require a lot of skill or time.
3. It´s difficult not to be biased
I know there is a lot of debate when it comes to overweight Dietitians and Nutritionist. I can see that my clients look at me and are happy to eat anything I tell them to. Although we should provide options as professionals, I found it quite hard not to point out “what I eat” in terms of brands because I was constantly asked which product I would choose…..hmmmm definately one to work on for me.
4. Don´t give too many messages
I also found that giving one to two meal options is enough and introducing 1 new food (ours was quinoa) is ample for one session. The rest of the time was looking at labels, discussing family meals and providing healthy alternatives which naturally went beyond just the client but the whole family.
5. Be realistic
No supermarket is free- from a treats isle, so it was an inevitable conversation. I ended up giving “better-for you” chocolate options , although I must say that felt a bit weird.
I actually enjoyed doing the tour and practice will make me more efficient. I think it is a great way of practically involving the client in behaviour change and could make for lasting lifestyle changes.
Have you done a supermarket tour as part of a consultation?, let me know how yours went!