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Know How, Know More

Connecting You with Your Food, Farmers and Community

Grocery Tours

The last few months, I have gotten a chance to partner with County Market and assist with grocery store tours to several groups. This is an opportunity for participants to get their questions answered about different foods in the store, gain skills to make healthier picks, and become more savvy shoppers.

As some commented:

  • "Thank you for this class. Very helpful!" –tour participant, February 2016
  • "Thank you so much! Learned a lot of great info." –tour participant, May 2016

Join us for our next upcoming tour on June 14. Register by calling 217-877-6042 or online by June 10.

Or if you would like to assemble a group to take on a tour, contact Hope Danielson at County Market at 217-221-5629 or

Some new ideas I gained myself during these tours:

1. Utilize the salad bar, but not for salads. I have made recipes that only need, maybe, 2 Tbsp of chopped onion or 1 stalk of celery.

When you need small amounts of ingredients and do not want to buy, for example, a whole onion or whole head of celery, use the salad bar of your store. (I do not cook very often with celery or eat much of it, so buying a whole head of celery that goes bad always makes me hesitant.)

2. Make a meal from the prepared food section. See the picture below? I bought lunch from the grocery store for minimal effort. I grab a turkey sandwich from the deli counter. I grabbed salad fixings (spinach, romaine lettuce, carrots, peas), blueberries and diced watermelon, and cottage cheese from the salad bar.

This meal cost just under $11. That is about the cost of a meal at a restaurant or fast food place, and I feel like I got more variety and healthier options.

3. Ask, ask, ask! The customer is always right. Let staff in stores make your shopping experience easier, let them help you find healthier options, and let them cut down on your meal preparation time.

For example, on the tour, Hope shared that low sodium deli turkey is available. If you do not see it, ask for it. She also shared the staff at the meat case can take skin off fish and season any meats you pick for free. All you have to do when you take it home is cook it.

Shopping for everyday life

Grocery shopping is not a favorite pastime for many people, but there are a variety of foods and services there to help you make smart, simple choices about the foods you serve your family. And if we shorten the preparation time at home, even better!

University of Illinois Extension does not endorse County Market or it company, products, or services over another grocery store.

Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.

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