Web Exclusive

Supermarket Chain Offers Free Online Guidance
for Healthful Eating, Disease Management

By Densie Webb, PhD, RD

Eating healthfully can be a challenge for clients and patients even during the best of times. In the midst of a pandemic, these challenges increase exponentially. That’s why providing easy access to information and expert guidance on healthful eating is more important than ever.

In April, Giant Food Supermarkets launched an ambitious project to offer free, online, interactive nutrition classes on healthful living, as well as individual online nutrition consultations for consumers with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Consultations, which normally cost $25 for a one-hour session, currently are free of charge and led by Giant’s 11 dietitians.

Giant Food is headquartered in Landover, Maryland, and operates 163 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. But clients don’t have to be customers of Giant Food or live in a state where Giant Food operates to take advantage of the classes. They’re available to anyone, anywhere. The online classes feature live education and interactive engagement. Participants can join in with listen-only mode or participate using the chat function to submit questions in real time. While the classes are free and there’s no limit to the number of participants, registration is required. Visit giantfood.com/nutrition and click on the Events tab.

“These classes are a way to take what we typically teach in person and translate it to the online space,” says Lisa Coleman, MS, RD, director of healthy living at Giant Food. “The goal is to provide easily accessible support through practical tips, encouragement, and inspiration for staying healthy at home during this stressful time, which can often exacerbate issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and more.”

Wide-Ranging Options
Live classes are offered three days each week (morning, afternoon, and evening), providing several opportunities to view a live class. Online classes also can be scheduled for workplaces, special groups, or clubs by sending an e-mail to nutrition@giantfood.com. “Our nutritionists are prepared to offer personalized tips on a variety of topics geared to the group’s health and wellness goals,” Coleman says. Individual consultations either can be by phone or video conference. Additional topics and tips can be found on Giant’s blog written by the company’s nutrition experts at giantfood.com/gf-wellness/#/blog.

The classes are being promoted across Giant’s website and social media channels. For those interested in finding out more or wishing to help a client or patient set up a personalized consultation, information is available at nutrition@giantfood.com. Some of the classes offered include the following:

  • Nutrition at Noon. For those who have general healthful living questions, individuals can join the Giant nutritionists Monday through Friday at 12 PM EDT from now through June 1 for quick, 15-minute Q&A sessions. Topics discussed during these classes include healthful snacking habits, must-have pantry staples, healthful meal ideas for at-home cooking, and much more.
  • Eating for Heart Health. Attendees can learn about foods that promote heart health and how to manage cholesterol and hypertension in this weekly online web series.
  • 6 Steps to a Healthier You. Whether it's a concern about weight, chronic disease management, or simply optimizing health, participants will learn how to identify relatively easy and gradual lifestyle changes to help them live healthier lives.
  • Eating for Prediabetes and Diabetes. For those with prediabetes and diabetes, the dietitians are sharing practical and delicious ways to keep blood sugar levels in check. Attendees also will be able to learn simple lifestyle changes to prevent the progression of prediabetes and diabetes.
  • #HealthyAtHome. This challenge offers simple weekly goals that build on each other to create habits for a more healthful overall lifestyle throughout the month of May. For example, week one focused on eating a fruit and vegetable at every meal and taking 10 minutes each day to stretch.
  • 6 Weeks to Wellness. Topics include meal planning, goal setting, mindful eating, and more. Day and evening class times are available.

Information about other available classes can be found at giantfood.com/gf-wellness/#/events. New classes and topics are rolled out each week, and the full suite of “Nutrition at Noon” classes can be found on the Giant Food YouTube page.

— Densie Webb, PhD, RD, is a freelance writer, editor, and industry consultant based in Austin, Texas.