OXFORD, Miss. – Janie Cole, registered dietitian and adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management at the University of Mississippi, leads a group of six through an Oxford grocery store.
She hands out a “Grocery Store Shopping“ guide that provides tips such as “Plan ahead and make a list” and “Don’t be on your phone while shopping. It gets you off task.” Cole tells the group to examine and compare nutrition facts for deli meats, bread, cereal and bacon.
In one of the aisles, Cole says, “Pay attention to calories, sodium content and saturated fat.”
The grocery store tour is a part of the weight management program organized by UM’s Nutrition Clinic, which is devoted to helping the community with weight loss, eating disorders and other nutrition issues. The program offers weekly group meetings, food record analysis, cooking demonstrations, tastings and one-on-one consults.
“Walking through the store and comparing labels helps the participants make healthy choices,” Cole said, regarding the grocery store tour. “Oftentimes, they are pleasantly surprised by what is considered a healthy choice.”
The program started in 2011 after the clinic got requests to begin a weight management class. But people take the class for reasons beside weight loss, Cole said.
“They want to eat better, improve their overall health and basically have a healthier lifestyle in general,” she said.
And the classes are improving lifestyles. The program has consistent success in lowering weight, blood sugar and cholesterol, and improving energy levels.
“This class is different from others available in that we teach you how to eat healthy without eliminating your favorite foods,” Cole said. “It’s so simple, but it works.”
The weight management classes begin Jan. 21 at Lenoir Hall and are open to the public. The fee for the 12-week course is $150. Participants can register for the classes by calling the UM Nutrition Clinic at 662-915-8662 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.