Loving Life after 50

Loblaw’s dietitians and Why Sitting is the New Smoking

This post has been created in consultation with Loblaws but all views and opinions are the opinions of A Labour of Life

meeting with the Loblaws dietitian

Eating healthier is a goal many Canadians, like me, are trying to achieve. Plus as I get older I get more and more concerned about the effects of the foods I am putting in my body.  Weight loss is no longer the only concern I have with food.  I was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure, which puts me at risk of cardiovascular disease.  Time for Linda to start eating right. A visit to a Loblaws dietitian was just what the doctor ordered.

The problem I have found is there is so much information about what you should and should not be eating. It can really become confusing and frustrating trying to  figure out what advice to follow. I was really thrilled when I was recently invited  to see what the in-store registered dietitians at Loblaws could do to help me.  I could utilize their assistance in wading through all of the questions and concerns I had about healthy eating and what I could do to achieve my goals.

meeting with the Loblaws dietitian Margaret

Loblaws dietitians and pharmacists

Currently more than 70 Loblaws stores across the country have registered dietitians who work to help us achieve better health and wellness goals with a range of FREE services, including nutrition check-ups, grocery store tours and interactive workshops and cooking classes. What you may not know is that Loblaws pharmacists also support these goals by offering patient-centred care through a wide variety of services to support cardiovascular and overall health.

Loblaws dietitian in Ottawa

Meet Margaret Hughes, one of the 84 registered dietitians in the Loblaws family. The registered dietitians at the Loblaw stores are available to help Canadians achieve their health and wellness goals and provide a range of FREE services, including:

  • Providing nutrition check-ups to assess dietary habits
  • Grocery store tours to identify healthier choices
  • Health and wellness workshops and lunch and learns tailored to the specific needs of your group
  • Developing custom meal plans based on dietary needs
  • Interactive cooking classes and demos
  • Tips for encouraging your children to try new foods

Margaret is responsible for three stores in my area so after I recovered from my trip and illness I immediately contacted her. I set up a consultation with her,  at the Vanier store location to assist me with my goals.

*Note the dietitians have many responsibilities throughout each of the stores they work for so you may have to wait a few days to a week to consult with them.

My Visit

Margaret walked me through my daily food habits and its better if you are completely honest so do not hold back.  There is no judgment, just sound advice and helpful tips to help us improve our overall wellness and cardiovascular health. Our sedentary lifestyles are really starting to affect our health.  Did you know that working in an office job sitting all day and then incorporating a habit like blogging where I sit all day is almost a double negative?

The sitting action is cutting off the proper flow in our bodies.  Sitting is the new smoking when it comes to bad health habits.  I have to start standing more when I am typing and  take more breaks and incorporating more walks.

After our consultation we went on a tour of the store so she could show me how to properly read the labels and utilize the Guiding Stars Program.

Guiding Stars

At Loblaws Stores there is the most amazing system called Guiding Stars.  What are Guiding Stars you ask?  Guiding Stars is a system that Loblaws has incorporated into their stores to help guide your nutrition.  The rating system is based on positive ratings provided based on vitamins, minerals, fibre, omega-3 and whole grains. Points and thus stars are deducted due to saturated fats, trans fat, added sodium and added sugar.

Three stars is the highest possible rating an item can receive. In most cases, three stars means an item received a number of credits and minimal debits. As the star rating decreases, the credits decrease and the debits increase. I am going to be perfectly honest here, I know I have seen the stars on the signage but I thought it was part of the logo, OOPS.

If you do not see any stars at all it usually means the food does not meet the nutritional criteria for earning a Guiding Star, it has not been rated yet or it’s a store prepared delight and the recipe can vary daily. Or if it is less than five calories like water, coffee or tea.

I could go on and on about the coolness and effectiveness of the Guiding Star system but you can actually read all  the fine details at GuidingStars.ca.

three Guidiong Stars at Loblaws


Guiding stars at loblaws

Blue menu loblaws

Margaret also showed me what to look for to substitute my normal frozen dinners for lunch for healthier options.  The Blue Menu selections now are amazing and several of them have a star rating.

I was also introduced to a brand new grain, Freekeh an ancient grain with even more nutritional value than Quinoa.

freekeh available through blue menu at Loblaws

Are you still here reading, seriously I was expecting everyone to be heading to their nearest Loblaws to check out Guiding Stars and make an appointment with a dietitian.

On a bonus note Loblaws Stores and their dietitians and chefs provide free cooking classes to show you really how to incorporate great food and healthy eating into your life.

Loblaws kitchen set up

Loblaws in Vanier

Plus kids are not only welcome but they have created amazing programs for them as well.

Loblaws kid section

Time to get heart healthy and take care of yourself, please make the call today, a Loblaws dietitian is waiting.