Families learn to eat better
by Paisley Boston
Feb 02, 2014 | 4250 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Some residents in Duncan are going to make a list and check nutritional labels twice during a project called Community Grocery Store Tour.

Fifteen parents from the community will be randomly selected from the Early Steps to Success Program and will have the opportunity to participate in an essential learning experience.

The project is sponsored by the Bonanza Buying Center in Duncan, the Early Steps to School Success Program and Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters Program.

The event is set to take place Feb. 25 at 9:30 a.m. in Wal-Mart.

"We feel that it is very important for an individual to learn how to read nutritional labels because the obesity rate in Mississippi is very high and many low income families are not knowledgeable about what they are purchasing to put into their body," said ESS Coordinator Shenika King.

Cooking Matters has been featured by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let's Move! Campaign and recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for excellence in nutrition education. The Wal-Mart Foundation is the national sponsor of Cooking Matters.

"Most of the families that we work with through the ESS program shop at Wal–Mart," she added.

The ESS program holds monthly meetings at the parent center in Shelby.

According to King, parents are able to connect with other families in the community through this program.

"We bring them information on nutrition, language, literacy development and we also have various speakers to come in and do presentations," she added.

The project is funded by a grant through the Save the Children Program, which is partnered with ESS and the Bonanza Buying Center.

"I feel like this project will encourage better and healthier eating habits. Families will have the opportunity to go into Wal-Mart and learn the significance of reading nutritional labels," continued King.

The tour will provide families with hands-on education as they shop for food, giving them skills to compare foods for cost and nutrition.

Participants will learn how to plan and budget for healthy, affordable, and delicious meals for their families.

"We are going to lead a group of 15 parents and talk to them about reading all types of labels and the significance of fresh produce as opposed for canned produce. We will also be talking to them about the importance of whole grain, the labels on frozen goods and unit prices," she added.

According to King, the 15 parents will be spilt into three groups of five and each group will have a tour leader.

Tour leaders can include staff or volunteers from local and regional social service agencies, supermarket employees, faith leaders, chefs, nutrition experts and others who know that healthy food doesn’t have to break the bank.  

"I think that this is a great opportunity and hopefully in the near future we will do more grocery store tours," said King.

At the end of the tour, parents will receive a nutritional cookbook, free grocery bag and a gift card.

"The families will receive a challenge gift card that must be used to purchase items that were discussed during the tour. Wal–Mart has agreed to donate three to four challenge cards as well," King said.