Does shopping at the grocery store overwhelm you? Do you have difficulty understanding nutrition labels and making your budget stretch to provide healthy meals for your family? Then Shop Smart grocery tours are for you!
Shop Smart was developed by the national anti-hunger program Cooking Matters and is hosted locally by Solid Ground. It takes place in supermarkets around Seattle where people who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are empowered with four key food skills:
- Reading food labels
- Comparing unit prices
- Finding whole grain foods
- Identifying three ways to purchase produce (fresh, frozen and canned)
The most recent Shop Smart took place June 2 at the Safeway Rainier Beach. Over 30 people sampled healthy foods from the five food groups as defined by MyPlate (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy) with delicious snacks like mango salsa, roasted curried chickpeas, pesto pasta salad, and strawberry banana smoothies (see slideshow below).
Once participants visited with costume-clad volunteers at each food group station, they finish the tour with a reusable grocery bag and a $10 Safeway gift card to practice the skills they just learned.
75% of our participants said they were thinking about trying a new way to shop for food that they learned about on the tour within the next six months, or even on their next shopping trip!
The grain station was especially popular. As one participant said, “Not all things that say they are whole grain [on the front of the package] actually are.” People also talked about learning shopping tips to save money, such as looking for sales, buying frozen or canned produce, and using unit prices to find the best deals.