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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

GIANT Nutritionists Advise Customers While They Shop

Dec 02, 2016 09:42PM ● By Kate Morgan

Nutritionist Holly Doan with client

GIANT is dedicated to ensuring the happiness – and health – of their valued customers. At the company’s three area stores, located in Enola, Camp Hill and Linglestown, in-store nutritionists are available for one-on-one consultations.

“We find that people sometimes have trouble taking the information they’ve been given by their medical professionals and actually putting that into practice,” Sarah Glunz, lead nutritionist, says. “If a doctor says you have high blood pressure and you need to follow a low-sodium diet, going to the grocery store can be overwhelming. We find that if we excite people and engage them about healthy food, they tend to follow through.”

Consultations with nutritionists can be prohibitively expensive; GIANT wants to ensure every customer who’s interested can get professional insight. “Customers pay $20, and then they get a GIANT gift card for that same amount,” Glunz says. “A lot of nutrition services aren’t covered by insurance. The program was crafted with the mindset that it would be available to everyone, regardless of financial situation.”

Glunz says the individual consultations can help customers gain valuable meal planning and dietary decision skills. “We have found that most people make their decisions about their diet in the grocery store,” Glunz says. “We hope we can help people make those decisions a little better. We can help them understand how to read a food label, what the claims on packages mean and where in the store to find the things that are best for you. There are lots of different kinds of food in our stores, but we feel strongly that we have everything to help our customers be healthy.”

In addition to one-on-one consultations, the GIANT in-store nutritionists provide group education, including in-store classes, store tours and community events. “Our nutritionists have gotten really creative in how they engage their customers,” Glunz says. “At one store, the nutritionist is doing a holiday class about cookies; creating really yummy cookie recipes that actually have some good ingredients. Another is doing DIY edible holiday gifts, and there’s another class on keeping your immune system strong throughout the winter.”

The nutritionists tailor their class topics to the community’s needs. This month, the Linglestown store will host a workshop called The Healthy Hunter, with ideas for incorporating game meat into a healthy diet.

Glunz says the in-store nutritionist program, which has grown considerably over the past decade, is successful both in the number of people it reaches annually and the positive effect it can have on customers’ lives. “We have 10 in-store nutritionists company-wide, who have done over 3,500 consultations this year alone,” Glunz says. “All the nutritionists have stories about customers, or even associates, they’ve helped to lose weight or manage blood sugar and cholesterol. We’re always excited to help people with making positive changes. The idea of empowering our customers to do this on their own is what it’s all about.”

GIANT’s in-store nutritionists are available locally at the Enola, Camp Hill and Linglestown locations. For more information, including nutritionist profiles and a full schedule of group events and workshops, visit GiantFoodStores.com/nutrition.

Kate Morgan is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

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