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Nutrition Made Easy at Hy-Vee

Karen KuzmaSometimes the grocery store can be the most overwhelming place to be when you’re trying to eat healthy.  Which foods are the most healthy? The least healthy? Is reduced fat peanut butter really that much better than regular peanut butter? Should I eat no carbohydrates?  How can I tell which brand of canned soup is most healthy for me?
Luckily for those with questions like these, Hy-Vee stores have someone on hand to answer these questions for you.

March is National Nutrition Month, and Answers4Families took some time to speak with Karen Kuzma, registered dietitian, at the 5010 “O” St. Hy-Vee in Lincoln. For those who were unaware, all Hy-Vee stores provide dietitian services with a resident dietitian for each store location.  The dietitian has an office near the store pharmacy. The dietitian provides many services, such as metabolic measurement, nutrition consultations, personal shopping assistance, cholesterol and blood glucose testing, cooking classes, and store tours.  While a lot of the services are free, such as tours and shopping assistance, some cost a small fee. A list of services and costs can be found on the Hy-Vee website.

Produce departmentKaren can often be found in the Health Market area of Hy-Vee helping shoppers with questions about diet restrictions and food allergies. She also helps a lot of people with questions about controlling diabetes and weight loss. She is always on hand for questions, but people are also able to make appointments for nutrition consultations where Karen can talk about nutrition needs, weight management, high blood pressure, sports nutrition and more.  She can also help with meal ideas and menu planning!

According to Karen, the easiest way to eat healthy is to take a balanced approach to food. That means eating all food groups in appropriate portion sizes. Also, eat as many non-processed, fresh foods as you can.  She also emphasizes eating whole grains and “super” foods such as sweet potatoes, leafy greens and salmon.  And reduced fat or regular peanut butter?  Go for the regular because while reduced fat may have less fat, it has more sugar added and not much of a caloric difference!

Canned goodsIf you find yourself becoming more frustrated with trying to decipher what is healthy when at the grocery store, Hy-Vee also uses the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System.  According to Hy-Vee’s website, the NuVal System scores food on a scale of 1 to 100.  The higher the score, the higher the nutrition. The scores can be found on the shelf tags and price signage. Next to the price in a hexagonal shape you can see a number, that’s the NuVal System score.  There is science behind how the NuVal System score is determined, which can be found here.  The NuVal System is intended to help you easily understand the nutrition of a product. For example, should you buy the potato bread or wheat rolls? Which one has the higher NuVal score? Your decision can be made as simple as that!

Now is as good a time as any to start eating healthier and Hy-Vee stores are equipped with the tools and people to help you. You can stop in to visit Karen, or the dietitians at other Hy-Vee locations, or make an appointment at 402-314-6704. Also, at the ends of the aisles in the Health Market section you can find information about upcoming nutrition events and cooking classes.

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