I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Media/Blogger session last week at my local Superstore where we were able to get a mini-version of the grocery store tours they offer as part of livelifewell program, along with a tasting session of some of their new healthy products and recipes. I get excited enough by an evening out with 'grown ups', but when I came through the doors and recognized the other bloggers immediately although I had never actually met them, was pretty cool. It was awesome to meet both Suzie the Foodie and Lynette from My Wee View, even though I felt I already knew them (which reminded me to get some more pics of me up on my blog... I'd like you all to feel like you know me!).
Loblaw dietitian Anne Marie Armstrong guided us on our store tour. We started in the produce section and went over the importance of getting enough fruits and veggies each day, discussed which produce packs the most nutritional punch and healthy and quick ways to add extra produce to our daily meals and snacks.
We then popped over to the fresh seafood counter and discussed the benefits of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in seafood, namely salmon and other cold water fish. To get the amount of Omega-3 our bodies thrive on, we should strive to eat fish at least twice a week (skip the deep fry... that negates the Omega-3 and makes it basically junk food). If you can't do that... take a supplement, best to ask your doctor or pharmacist what is best for you.
Next, to the bakery. We skipped the cake display (shucks!) and spoke about the daily bread. I am trying to make more and more homemade bread, but we still rely quite a bit of store-bought. While many of the breads sound very healthy, you really need to know how to correctly read both the nutritional information and the ingredients listing... some 'healthy' selections, really aren't much healthier than plain ol' white bread, so don't be fooled.
In the meat section, we learned how to make the best choices to stay within a healthy fat range. Removing the skin from chicken breasts, for example, significantly lowers the saturated (worse) fat... do this after cooking the chicken though, the skin helps keep the moisture in and by removing it after, you are still drastically reducing the fat.
This picture is somewhat gratuitous, I rarely have my camera in the grocery store and just felt compelled to take a picture of just butter. We spoke a bit of the butter/margarine debate. I am Team Butter all the way, but do occasionally have margarine in the house too. We received a sample of the new PC Celeb with added Omega-3 and I do like it as a sneaky way to get some added DHA into our picky little eater... but I won't be baking with it.
We wrapped up our mini-tour and went back upstairs to get to sampling... my favourite part! We started with a tzatziki dip with assorted veggies. I was really amazed with the thickness of this dip, I haven't really loved any of the PC Blue Menu dips because of the 'thinner' mouth feel they have. Then I found out their trick, they mixed the tzatziki with an equal part of the PC 0% fat Greek Yogurt... it was amazing and thick.
Next we tried the Gingered Carrot Soup, a homemade soup using a recipe from the PC Cooking School. This soup was absolutely delicious! Not only did carrot and ginger play a part in the flavour, but also sweet potato and a hint of curry powder, which added a lot of flavour complexity. Topped with a dollop of the same 0% fat Greek yogurt, it was thick and smooth.
Along with the soup, we enjoyed some Toasted Spiced Flatbread, which was made quickly with PC Blue Menu Stone Baked Original Flatbread, brushed with olive oil and herbs.
I have to confess... it was at this time the camera went away, I was just enjoying the sampling too much to be distracted. We also were served a Warm Spinach and Apple Salad, topped with the best almonds... which turned out to be Anne Marie's own concoction, the PC Blue Menu Korean Chicken Breast Chunks, and a Power Fruit Breakfast Crumble, which we happily ate as dessert. I will be sharing all of these recipes with you over the coming weeks, I cannot wait to have them again.
All in all, the evening was a great success. I have quite a bit of nutrition knowledge, but I haven't put it all into practice lately. I left this session feeling a great resolve to get back to eating better much more often. I love that Ann Marie took away some of the guilt I feel by using a 'cheat' from time to time... I mean I write a food blog, shouldn't every single thing my family eats be homemade? In a perfect world where houses cleaned themselves, children raised themselves and blogs wrote themselves, maybe yes... but that world doesn't exist. I really like how she said one item can be a cheat... for example if you use a healthy protein, like the Korean chicken chunks we sampled, just be sure to have unprocessed sides, like brown rice pilaf and a lot of steamed or roasted veggies.
Balance. The word has become almost cliché, but it is key.
Here are the dates and times for the upcoming Healthy Eating Store Tours that Anne Marie will be conducting at Nova Scotia stores over the next few weeks:
March 13th 2-3 PM Windsor Superstore (Hants County)
March 14th 10-11 AM Bridgewater Superstore
March 15th 11 AM – 12 noon Antigonish Superstore
March 20th 2-3 PM Bayers Lake Superstore
March 21st 2-3 PM Portland Street Superstore
March 22nd 2-3 PM Lower Sackville Superstore
If you'd like more information, or would like to register, please contact the store's pharmacy.
I did receive a bag of products to sample/review, but was in no other way compensated for this post. Opinions, as always, are mine.