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Shop healthy, eat healthy, says Port Alberni dietitian

Sandra Gentleman talks nutrition, smart shopping with community groups
Dietitian Sandra Gentleman leads a class at ADSS on a nutrition tour at Save-On Foods on Wednesday, Nov. 23. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Healthy eating starts in the grocery aisles, and Port Alberni registered dietitian Sandra Gentleman is hoping to show people how.

Gentleman recently started up nutrition tours at Save-On-Foods after a two-year break due to COVID-19 restrictions. She can now be spotted at the store, showing groups of students or adults how to peruse the grocery store aisles for healthy options.

“We learn how to read labels and look at healthy plate ratios,” explained Gentleman. “We look at how to incorporate more healthy foods—things like fruits and veggies—in the diet, and the amount of salt, sodium and sugars in processed foods. We also talk about waste, and how to reduce food waste when you’re shopping.”

With inflation and rising food prices, Gentleman also tackles the topic of budgeting and getting better value for your dollar at the grocery store.

Nutrition tours are available for groups of seven people or more. Tours are available to school groups, like the Alberni District Secondary School foods classes, and recreational groups like Girl Guides, Scouts or sports teams. But the tours are also available to adults who are looking for specific advice: topics like eating with diabetes, heart healthy diets, gluten sensitivity, plant-based diets or feeding young families. The minimum age to attend a nutrition tour is five years old (Kindergarten and up).

Gentleman led her first group of high school students through the store at the end of November. It’s something that she missed—during the pandemic, dietitians switched over to a virtual format for these nutrition tours, but the in-person tours offer a tangible experience.

“It’s especially nice to talk to young people,” said Gentleman. “Other than school and their parents, they’re not getting too much nutrition education yet. This really opens the door for their future health.”

To sign up for a nutrition tour, visit Save-On-Foods in person or sign up online at The tours are free with a More Rewards card.

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Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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