Doctors, dietitians roam grocery aisles to help shoppers with nutrition questions

ANAHEIM HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Ronnie Noqul is one lucky shopper. She wants to make the healthiest choices for her family, and on Thursday, she got a free nutrition tutorial at Ralphs from dietitian Susan Watkins.

It's all part of St Joseph Health's "Shop with a Doc" series.

"St. Joseph Health just wanted to get into the community and help combat preventable related diseases," Watkins said.

What's the right serving size? What does organic really mean? What's gluten free? Just a few of the questions shoppers ask.

Watkins says people get confused because of food marketing on the front of the package.

"It's easy to get caught up in the quick processed foods. Everybody is busy, so we tend to buy fast, easy, quick things that aren't always the most nutritious," Watkins said.

So she helps people digest key points.

"It really could be very simple. Just adding more fresh fruits and vegetables into their cart. Trying not to buy as many processed foods is really the main goal," she said.

"Shopping healthy means you're trying to buy fresh," Dr. Jason Jilk said.

It's Jilk's second year doing grocery cart consults. He too likes to push produce, but knows shopping isn't a black and white challenge, as many have diabetes, gluten intolerance, food allergies and weight issues.

"Some people have individual dietary requirements, and for that it's going to be individualized recommendations," Jilk said.

Like Timothy Prentice, who burns a lot of calories working outside, often in the heat, and wants to know the best way to stay hydrated.

This is the second annual "Shop with a Doc." There's four more events at Ralphs shopping centers throughout Orange County from now until Nov. 12 - and all are absolutely free.

Here are remaining dates for this campaign:
  • Thursday, Nov. 5: Ralphs, 26751 Portola Parkway, Foothill Ranch, CA 92610
  • Thursday, Nov. 12: Ralphs, 25539 Paseo De Valencia, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Here is more information from St. Joseph Health.
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