Posted by & filed under Blog Posts, Ingredient.

Do you get questions about fats like cooking oils? There are many misconceptions about fats and health and, without knowing the facts, your shoppers may be missing out on the bene­fits of heart-healthy oils.

For example, did you know that corn oil contains more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils? Corn oil has four times the sterols of olive oil, forty percent more than canola oil and three times more than vegetable (soybean) oil.ᴬ

Here are some other myths and facts about corn oil, provided by Mazola®:

MYTH: Corn oil isn’t a heart-healthy oil

FACT: Research suggests eating about 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of corn oil daily may reduce the risk of heart disease due to the unsaturated fat and plant sterols content. 

MYTH: Corn oil isn’t as healthy as olive oil

FACT: Mazola® Corn Oil contains more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils. It is 100 percent pure, naturally salt and cholesterol free, and contains vitamin E.

MYTH: Corn oil should only be used for frying

FACT: Mazola® Corn Oil has a high smoke point above 450°F and mild taste, making it appropriate for baking, grilling, sautéing and stir-frying.

Thanks to the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil often gets the kudos for being the healthiest oil. But a new study reveals that corn oil lowers the “bad” LDL and total cholesterol more than extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO).ᴮ

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology (December 2014), two groups of subjects were given a balanced diet for 21 days that included three foods made with either a total of 4 tablespoons of corn oil or 4 tablespoons of EVOO. The foods were yogurt, a pumpkin muffin or carrot cake, and a rosemary garlic or wheat dinner roll. Participants who had the four tablespoons of corn oil daily in their food had a lower level of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol at the end of three weeks, as compared to those who consumed the EVOO. The corn oil group also had a lower total cholesterol level. This is because corn oil has more naturally-occurring phytosterols than extra-virgin olive oil, 528 versus 120 milligrams.

And when it comes to cooking, remember that corn oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil –400-450 degrees F for corn oil, versus 325-375 F for olive oil. This, along with a naturally mild taste, makes corn oil more versatile in the kitchen than many cooking oils.

ᴬ  Based on analysis of corn oil and 2013 USDA comparison of other cooking oils: Corn oil has plant sterols content of 135.6 mg/serving vs. 30.0 mg/serving for Olive Oil, 40.8 mg/serving for Vegetable Oil, and 93.9 mg/serving for Canola Oil 2.

ᴮ Maki K, Lawless A, Kelley K, Kaden v, Geiger C, Dicklin M. Corn oil improves the plasma lipoprotein lipid profile compared with extra-virgin olive oil consumption in men and women with elevated cholesterol: Results from a randomized feeding trial. J Clin Lipidol. Article in press. Accessed December 10, 2014.

Posted by & filed under News.

Few foods herald spring as well as beautiful strawberries.strawberries

May is National Strawberry Month, a good time to take note of reasons to encourage more consumption of America’s Favorite Fruit. The California Strawberry Commission presented these to supermarket RD guests at this year’s Shopping for Health conference. Here are some highlights:

Number One: Strawberries are packed with nutrients. A cup-size serving contains more vitamin C than is found in an orange, fiber, folate and potassium. And all for just 45 calories.

Strawberries are also a favorite Superfruit, meaning that they contain a variety of bioactive compounds that converge to fight oxidation and inflammation. More than 110 studies concerning strawberry consumption and human health have been published since 2006.

And in addition, there is emerging science that is showing that eating strawberries reduces the risk of chronic disease. Four servings of strawberries a day lowered cholesterol and reduced oxidationª while three servings reduced insulin response.ᴮ

Here’s one more: Strawberries work in diabetes meal planning. They provide just 7 grams of sugar per serving, less than apples, bananas, grapes and oranges, with a low glycemic index. The American Diabetes Association names strawberries as one of ten superfoods in a diabetes meal plan.

California is the leader in U.S. strawberry production, with 1.6 billion pounds of fresh strawberries and 400 million frozen strawberries produced annually. That’s 88% of all strawberries grown in the U.S.


ªBasu, et al Journal of Nutrition, 2014

ᴮPark, et al, Experimental Biology Conference, 2015


Strawberry Pavlova

If you were at the Shopping for Health 2015 conference in Napa, are you still dreaming about this fabulous Strawberry Pavlova dessert?

Check here for strawberry recipes

Posted by & filed under 2015 Shopping for Health Conference, Blog Posts.

The fifth annual Shopping for Health conference for supermarket dietitians returned to the place where it all started in 2011 – gorgeous Napa, California! Top representatives from multiple supermarket chains around the country spent three days in Napa, networking, learning from nutrition and culinary presentations, and tasting recipes and foods prepared by some of the best chefs in the country.  Leading food industry sponsors were also there to update this important group about their products. In just five years, Shopping for Health has become the premier annual gathering for supermarket dietitians who are interested in helping their stores better communicate nutrition news to shoppers.

Some of the topics of interest at Shopping for Health 2015:

If you couldn’t join us this year, we missed you! But check here in the coming weeks for photos, blog posts, special presentations and other information from the conference. We have it all here and are ready to share with you, and, if you’d like, put you in touch with the researchers and speakers who made the news. Here are a few photos below; check out the entire Napa 2015 conference photo gallery here.

If you were at Shopping for Health 2015, what was your favorite part of the conference? We’d love for you to post here something that you learned!


Posted by & filed under Blog Posts.

34473209_sWhat happens when a select group of supermarket dietitians come together for three days, meeting with leading food industry executives to hear science and health updates, enjoy product tastings, and discuss ways to better reach shoppers with the nutrition news they need?


“The annual Shopping for Health meeting is one of the most important meetings I attend all year,” says Julie, a supermarket RD. “It’s the perfect mix of networking, information exchange, product demonstration and fun. I always come back inspired with ideas on how to better do my job of communicating nutrition information to consumers.”


Shopping for Health 2015 will take place March 8 – 10 in beautiful Napa, California. This fifth annual conference will once again provide the supermarket dietitians with the information they need to help consumers make wise choices at the grocery store. And, at the request of many retail dietitians, SFH 2015 will immediately follow the meeting of the Food & Culinary Professionals Dietary Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, allowing attendees to enjoy both meetings if they desire.


Program activities include a session on food styling tricks of the trade and a discussion of the role of the supermarket in retail healthcare. Attendees will enjoy a cooking demonstration and nutrition updates on foods and beverages ranging from water to walnuts. Shopping for Health is made possible by the support of food industry sponsors.


For more information about Shopping for Health 2015, contact

Posted by & filed under News.

Shopping for Health 2015 ConferenceShopping for Health 2015 will take place March 8 – 10 in beautiful Napa, California.

Back by popular request from our retail dietitians, SFH 2015 will once again immediately follow the meeting of the Food & Culinary Professionals Dietary Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics!

Retail RDs who are guests of Shopping for Health will again have the option of flying to Napa before the SFH conference, in time to attend the DPG meeting.

If you are a supermarket dietitian at a leading grocery chain, please contact Shopping for Health for information about this meeting. Each year, we host an exclusive group for three days of nutrition, health and culinary presentations, leading industry speakers, delicious meals, fun events and outstanding networking opportunities. Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits from AND are offered for participation.*

Look for your Invitation to Shopping for Health 2015 soon!

*Application in process, as final program is developed.

Posted by & filed under News.

Mini Babybel® has a great opportunity for you to share with your shoppers! Via social media, Babybel is currently recruiting a lucky, incredibly qualified family to represent his awesomeness across the land. The winning family will win an all-expense-paid trip to NYC, where their mission will be to have as BIG a time as possible. Encourage your shoppers to enter today through September 26 – details below!


Posted by & filed under Shopping for Health Success Stories.

Shopping for Health works to provide high-quality, RD-reviewed materials and information about various food products to retail dietitians at grocery store chains throughout the U.S. and Canada. We are so pleased to see the many ways that those materials are used!

Here’s an example of how a grocery store dietitian reached shoppers in her area on behalf of her store, with nutrition information and recipes about rice:

Posted by & filed under Consumer Research, News.

Here’s another interesting food trend reported at Shopping for Heath 2014 by NPD Group Food and Beverage Analyst Darren Seifer: What we traditionally think of as “snacking” – enjoying little nibbles between three big meals – is now an all-day affair, and as a result, traditional “snack foods” are now considered elements of meals.


“Americans have become more accepting of the concept of ‘snacking’ as a way of eating,” said Seifer. “In the early 1990’s, more than 70 percent of people said that they try to avoid snacking entirely.  People believed then that snacking was a symptom of bad eating habits that lead to things like obesity and overweight.


“But the number of people who say that they don’t snack today has dropped dramatically, to just over 40%. It’s clear that ‘snacks’ is no longer a negative term.”


In 2014, Americans’ standard eating habits definitely include patterns that we may have once regarded as “snacking.” Take a look at our typical eating times:

  • Most people say that they eat at 8:00 a.m, 12:00 noon and 6:00 p.m. –the traditional fare of breakfast-lunch-dinner.
  • Added to that are additional eating times throughout the day: 10:00 a.m, 3:00 p.m. and that late-night refrigerator raid at 10:00 p.m.


Putting these timelines together, it’s clear that many people eat throughout the day, whether at what they call a main meal, or as a supplemental “snack.”


An interesting result of this, according to Seifer, is that traditional snack foods (like potato chips, packages of crackers, small apples or cartons of yogurt) are now considered main-meal fare by many people. These foods are consumed with main meals 22% of the time and even as a total meal replacement 8 percent of the time.

Posted by & filed under News, Recipes.

September is National Rice Month, a good time to let your shoppers know more about the culinary versatility and nutritional benefits of tasty U.S. grown rice. Here’s a quick quiz to see how much you know about rice:

How many servings of grains do we need to eat every day?
(Answer: 3 – 8, depending on gender, age and level of physical activity. For women 30 – 50 years old, it’s generally six one ounce servings. For men the same age, it’s seven.)

How many of those servings should be whole grains?
(Answer: Half of the total number of grains you eat each day should be whole grains.)

Which rice types count as a whole grain?
(Answer: Brown rice, red rice, black rice, wild rice)

Which 6 states produce the bulk of US-grown rice?
(Answer: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Missouri)

Name some of the vitamins that rice provides to the diet.
(Answer: 15 essential nutrients, including B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, selenium (brown), fiber (brown) and iron)

How does enriched white rice contribute nutritionally to the diet?
(Answer: It is fortified with nutrients such as folate. This is especially important for women of child-bearing age, because of its role in helping to prevent neural tube defects.)

If a person suffers from gluten intolerance, meaning that they cannot consume grains like wheat, rye or barley, can they still eat rice?
(Answer: Yes!)


From the USA Rice Federation, here’s a simple and tasty Rice Bowl Recipe:

curryCurry Chicken Lime Rice Bowl
Makes 6 servings

1 9-ounce jar mango chutney
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
2 pkgs refrigerated grilled chicken strips
1 cup diced bell pepper
3 cups cooked U.S. basmati or long grain white rice

Makes 6 servings

In large bowl, whisk chutney, lime juice, oil, salt and curry powder. Stir in chicken, bell
pepper and cooked rice. Serve immediately or cover and chill.

Nutrition Facts, per serving:
Calories 349, Total Fat 12 g, Cholesterol 48, mg, Sodium 447 mg, Total Carbohydrate 41 g, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Protein 21 g

Posted by & filed under News, Recipes.

If you’re heating up the grill this Labor Day weekend, a tasty beer may already be top of mind. But did you think about further enhancing the delicious flavor of the beer in your glass by making it an ingredient in your holiday weekend dishes? Cooking with beer makes the food taste better than ever.

“There are numerous types and styles of beer available today, thanks to the American beer distribution system that gives smaller brewers the ability to utilize beer distributors to get new beers to a wide range of grocers and other retailers,” said Rebecca Spicer of the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) in remarks to the Shopping for Health grocery store dietitians. “Your shoppers benefit by having the choice between many beer brands, types and styles, right in your stores.”

Take advantage of the various flavors in the hundreds of beers available by experimenting with them in favorite recipes. Steam shellfish, mussels or shrimp in beer rather than water, for a tangy taste that complements the saltiness of seafood. Add a few tablespoons of beer to a salad dressing or a stir-fry. Beer also makes a wonderful marinade or sauce for grilling favorite meats and vegetables.

From NBWA, here are some grilling recipes to add to the fun this Labor Day weekend:


Grilled Beer-Glazed Pork Chops

Serves 4

¾ cup Porter Beer or Stout Beer

½ cup soy sauce

1⁄3 cup light brown sugar, packed well

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1 TBLS diced fresh ginger

1 TBLS sesame seeds

2 cloves garlic, crushed through a press

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

4 pork chops, center-cut, about 1 inch thick


Make glaze by combining in deep saucepan the beer, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, sesame seeds, garlic and sesame oil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 minutes or until mixture thickens and reduces to about 1 cup. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Place pork chops in shallow baking dish in single layer. Pour half of sauce over chops, turning to coat thoroughly. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Prepare gas or charcoal grill; lightly oil grill rack. Place chops on grill and cook, turning, about 6–8 minutes per side. Baste with remaining half of beer glaze sauce during last 5 minutes of cooking. Cook until chops are just cooked through in the center, and are nicely glazed.

Nutrition Information, Per Serving: 230 calories; 8 g fat; 2.5 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 15 g carbohydrate


Mexican Stout Burgers with Grilled Onion and Avocadobeer

Serves 6

½ cup Stout Beer

1 TBL unsweetened cocoa powder

1⁄8 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt

2 pounds ground sirloin

2 red onions, sliced into thick rings

6 slices Monterey Jack cheese

2 avocados, sliced

6 hamburger buns


In small mixing bowl, stir together Stout Beer, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cumin, granulated garlic, brown sugar and salt. Place ground sirloin in large mixing bowl; pour beer mixture into meat. Stir gently until well-combined. Form meat into six patties.

Prepare gas or charcoal grill, or pre-heat broiler.

Place meat patties on grill or under broiler and cook about 5–7 minutes. Add onion rings to grill. Turn burgers and cook additional 5–7 minutes until cooked through to desired doneness. During final minutes of cooking burgers, top each with a slice of cheese. Add opened buns to grill, toasting just until golden.

To assemble, place burgers on grilled buns and top with grilled onion and avocado slice.

Nutritional Information, Per Serving: 500 calories; 24 g fat; 8 g saturated fat; 33 g carbohydrate