Shopping tours fight holiday weight gain

Mt. Pleasant, SC (WCSC) - Whole Foods grocery in Mt. Pleasant has begun offering guided shopping tours to showcase healthy alternatives to conventional holiday meals.

"People want food that is going to make them feel satisfied, feel full," said Pam Fischette, Marketing Director.  "There are alternatives to foods that are high in fat, calories, and other things that get people in to trouble around the holiday."

With more than 12 percent unemployment in the Palmetto state, dollar menu oriented fast food items have replaced home cooked meals for perceived cost values.  With families still trying to provide for one another around the holidays, healthy habits is among the first to take a hit.

"It's a problem.  A misconception," said MUSC dietician Tonya Turner.  "People think that because they don't have the money around the holidays, they need to forfeit eating right to provide presents and entertain loved ones."

Fischette says the tours, done two to three times a month, visit most every aisle in the store.  Fischette will hand pick more industrious options for patrons who she says are often over whelmed by the hustle and bustle of the holidays, as well as existing stereotypes of eating healthy.

"It's a way to get people to shop efficiently, and on a budget," said Fischette.  "A lot of people come in here and don't realize all the options they have in budget, preparation time, and taste."

Taste being a major concern to most tour attendees.  Fischette says she takes extra time to explain that while the store has a large vegetarian and vegan cliental, Whole Foods provides plenty of meat, dairy, and dessert oriented products.

"There is something for everyone," said Fischette.  "With time, these foods will become mainstream.  People will make connections between healthy eating and healthy lives."