ShopRite be­comes class­room for di­eti­tians

Pro­gram run by grad­u­ate teaches stu­dents how to shop with nu­tri­tional needs in mind

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian McCul­lough bm­c­cul­lough@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @wc­dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

West Ch­ester Univer­sity stu­dents have been join­ing with ShopRite to pre­pare for ca­reers as di­eti­tians.

Stu­dents at West Ch­ester Univer­sity have been join­ing with ShopRite this fall to pre­pare for ca­reers as di­eti­tians.

As part of the pro­gram, soonto-be reg­is­tered di­eti­tians have had the op­por­tu­nity to work with a ShopRite di­eti­tian – a West Ch­ester grad her­self – to as­sist cus­tomers with their health and well­ness needs while re­ceiv­ing first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence. The train­ing be­gan Oct. 2 and is con­tin­u­ing.

The pro­gram is be­ing spon­sored by a grant from the Del­a­ware-based Pro­duce For Bet­ter Health Foun­da­tion. The Store Tour Train­ing Grant Pro­gram gives stu­dents tours of the store on West Ch­ester Pike out­side of West Ch­ester. The stu­dents will then give tours to the gen­eral pub­lic and an­swer their ques­tions on nu­tri­tion.

Jena Wood, a re­tail di­eti­tian for the ShopRite of West Ch­ester, is train­ing the stu­dents and over­sees the tours. She re­ceived her bach­e­lor of science in nu­tri­tion from West Ch­ester Univer­sity and is cur­rently en­rolled in its mas­ter’s of science in com­mu­nity nu­tri­tion pro­gram.

Wood re­cently said she is work­ing with 20 stu­dents, giv­ing them 2½-hour tours, when they dis­cuss the nu­tri­tional value and proper prepa­ra­tion meth­ods of dif­fer­ent foods.

Too much em­pha­sis is placed on fresh, she said.

“We did a sur­vey of them, go­ing over serv­ing sizes and the fruits and veg­eta­bles we should be eat­ing,” said Wood, who grad­u­ated in 2013. “We went into the mis­con­cep­tions – how it all fits to­gether, not just fresh. Canned, frozen, dried and 100 per­cent juices, they all play a role. Frozen is my fa­vorite” be­cause the food doesn’t go bad af­ter a short pe­riod of time.

Rel­a­tively new to the scene, di­eti­tians are be­com­ing more com­mon in su­per­mar­kets as con­sumers be­come more con­cerned about what they are putting into their bod­ies. ShopRite now em­ploys 130 di­eti­tians cov­er­ing 140 of its 260 stores.

The part­ner­ship with West Ch­ester Univer­sity is wel­comed at the lo­cal ShopRite.

“We are very ex­cited to be­gin this part­ner­ship with West Ch­ester Univer­sity nu­tri­tion stu­dents and the Pro­duce for Bet­ter Health Foun­da­tion,” said Tammy Miller Sheeler, HR man­ager for KTM Su­per­mar­kets Inc. ShopRites in West Ch­ester and Hat­field. “As a fam­ily and busi­ness, we are com­mit­ted to serv­ing our com­mu­nity and pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for our cus­tomers to lead more health­ful lives. This pro­duce and nu­tri­tion based grant is an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to that ef­fort.”

In her job, Wood gives free nu­tri­tion and weight loss ad­vice,

does cook­ing classes and vis­its schools, se­nior cen­ters and other com­mu­nity gath­er­ing spots.

“Fif­teen years ago, this po­si­tion didn’t ex­ist,” she noted. “Now, it’s a grow­ing field.”

Health con­cerns such as di­a­betes and heart dis­ease are lead­ing shop­pers to be more selec­tive in their pur­chases. High health in­sur­ance costs and cor­po­rate well­ness plan also are cre­at­ing more dis­cern­ing con­sumers, Wood said.

Asked for what ad­vice she would give on nu­tri­tion to the av­er­age shop­per, Wood didn’t hes­i­tate.

“I would tell them to in­crease their fiber in­take and wa­ter in­take,” the di­eti­tian said. That means more fruits, veg­eta­bles and beans for the av­er­age shop­per, she said.

ShopRite su­per­mar­kets are lo­cated through­out New Jersey, New York, Penn­syl­va­nia, Con­necti­cut, Del­a­ware and Mary­land. To find a di­eti­tian, visit

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