The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Make Your Calories Count

Make Your Calories Count

Dietitian Dialogues

April 27, 2008

Make Your Calories Count

Natalie Menza, RD

As the warm weather approaches, many of your customers might start thinking about cutting back on calories and even shedding a few pounds. Well, help is on the way. Below you’ll find some tips and suggestions you can impart to your customers to help them choose healthy foods, control portions, and enjoy their meals without feeling like they’re starving! Read on to learn how you can “make your calories count.”
·         Snacking is a great way to provide your body with fuel to keep your energy level up all day.Choose healthy snacks that are naturally low in fat and calories such as fruit, raw veggies, whole grain crackers or low fat yogurt.
·         Control portions and eat from a plate, not out of a package.
·         Eat slowly and put your fork down between bites. Give your body a chance to recognize when it is full.
·         Forget the “Clean Plate Club.” Listen to your body’s signals and stop eating when you are full. You can always have leftovers wrapped up.
·         Don’t pick. Contrary to what we’d like to believe: sips, tastes, bites, foods that crumble, foods that don’t hit your plate, food you eat while standing up, or the remainder of your child’s lunch do in fact have calories and can add up quickly.
·         Just eat. Make eating the only event and enjoy it. When you eat watching T.V., you may consume more than you think.
·         Plan healthy meals and snacks ahead of time so that you’re prepared when hunger strikes.

·         Go food shopping on a full stomach and stick to a shopping list.
·         When you’re not really hungry but you get the urge to nibble out of boredom or stress, do something else like read, go for a walk, watch television, or call a friend.
·         Take a look at portion sizes. Even healthy food can result in weight gain if you eat more than you should. For example, two cups of rice (even brown rice) is still around 500 calories. Try measuring your portions for about a week to make sure you are eating appropriate amounts.
·         Exercise is not a license to overeat. It takes 30 minutes to burn around 200-300 calories, and 1 minute to eat 2 cookies for the same amount of calories.
·         Hunger is a symptom of fatigue, so it is common to remedy your sleepiness with eating. Plus, when you are tired your judgment may be impaired and you are less likely to care about planning healthy meals or making it a point to go to the gym after work. Make sure you are getting an adequate amount of sleep each night.
Most importantly, tell your customers to remember: take one day at a time, don’t be too hard on yourself, and if you get off track, pick yourself up and start fresh the next day!
Natalie Menza, a registered dietitian, has been with ShopRite Supermarkets since February 2005. Prior to joining ShopRite, Menza counseled patients in clinical settings such as hospitals and nursing homes. She also maintained a private practice, providing personalized counseling to clients to help them achieve their dietary goals. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Nutrition. To contact Menza, click:
As a nutritionist working for a supermarket, you have a unique outlook on how retailers are increasing health awareness at the store level and the kind of questions that shoppers ask. Each month, we'll be featuring a guest column, written by a nutritionist, that communicates this point of view on a variety of topics. And we want to hear from you. If you are a supermarket nutritionist interested in sharing your perspective and insights, we would love to help you share your thoughts! Please contact Allison Bloom at