Part of the blame for childhood obesity belongs to companies who aggressively market junk food to children. Some are now counter-marketing.
"You have to start small to make big changes," says Jessica LaRoche, registered dietitian at Harmons' Station Park store in Farmington. "The problem of unhealthy and obese children is incredibly enmeshed in our whole culture, so you just have to grab one thread and start untangling it." That's why Harmons' goal is to have a full-time dietitian in each store to answer customers' questions, organize healthy cooking classes and form relationships with kids in the community to promote healthy eating. Right now, the Bangerter Crossing, City Creek and Station Park stores have dietitians in place.
LaRoche believes part of the obesity problem is that people have forgotten how to cook and view it as too hard to organize a family meal outside of bucket or box. "Our Wellness Wednesdays are a chance to learn to do all that," she says. Whole families, little ones included, participate in this hands-on evening cooking class, learning to prepare easy, nutritiously sound meals. Other efforts include aggressively marketing healthy food to kids.
Harmons' Healthy Checkout Lane, the first lane to open and the last one to close, offers none of the usual temptations - no candy bars, no soft drinks. "I stock it myself," says LaRoche. "I put out fruit, natural applesauce packets, nuts, granola bars, and healthy drinks in the cooler."
Mothers love it. And because that final grocery store battle is more about winning than the goodies, kids learn to love it, too, leaving with a healthy treat and a smile instead of sugar or a wail. Harmons Station Park, 200 N. Station Parkway, Farmington, 801-928-2600