Higher Education Meets Local Business in the Grocery Aisle

Thursday, August 20 2009


Aug. 20, 2009

University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene Educational Tours Address Nutritional Challenges

Written by Donna Emert

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Navigating the seemingly endless array of nutritional choices offered in American grocery stores isn’t easy. If you’ve ever found yourself in the doldrums of the cereal aisle, you probably have wished for a guide.

In September and October, University of Idaho professor of dietetics SeAnne Safaii and her senior dietetics students will provide guided tours of Pilgrim’s Market in Coeur d’Alene. The tours aim to educate people with special nutritional needs – including vegans, diabetics, dieters, and those who suffer lactose or gluten intolerance – and a growing contingent who just want to know exactly what’s in their food and how it impacts their health. The tours are free and open to the public.

Safaii is a registered, licensed dietitian, and writes a weekly nutrition column for the Coeur d’Alene Press. She directs the dietetics program at the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene Harbor Center.

The partnership with Pilgrim’s is one of several successful University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene collaborations with North Idaho businesses. The university aims to significantly expand local business/higher education partnerships as the Coeur d’Alene Education Corridor develops.

"This is a great university and community partnership," said Safaii. "University of Idaho dietetics students will teach people how to shop for nutritionally sound and supportive foods. It gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge in a low-key, friendly and fun environment."

Pilgrim's offers a wide variety of organic produce, fresh, natural organic meats, gluten-free pastries, many hard to find beers and wines, and a variety of healthy nutritional choices not offered anywhere else in town. It is adding nutrition education to its offerings.

"I love to help people, and I have found that the best way I can do that is to educate them," said Joe Hamilton, Coeur d’Alene Pilgrim’s store manager. "That is why I look to experts like Dr. Safaii and her students to offer public services like this. I think that, ultimately, most people would make healthier food choices if they really understood the consequences of making the wrong ones."

Thompson included a health education room in the new store and has arranged for more than 50 speakers to help educate the Coeur d’Alene community on nutritional issues this year. "I applaud the generosity of experts like Dr. Safaii who are willing to arrange for public service programs like this," he said.

The tours will take place at Pilgrim’s Market, 1316 N 4th Street, Coeur d’Alene. Schedule and specific educational focus are as follows:

Pilgrim’s Market Lactose Intolerance Tours
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Finding foods to eat on a lactose-free diet can be a challenge. University of Idaho dietetics students will guide customers through each section of the store, offering healthy tips and meal ideas and identifying cautionary items for those who are lactose intolerance. They will teach people how to effectively read food labels and choose accordingly. Tasty samples and recipes provided.

Pilgrim’s Market Gluten Free Tours
Tuesday, Sept. 22, 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
University of Idaho dietetics students will guide customers through each section of the store, offering healthy tips and meal ideas, and identifying foods that meet gluten-free criteria. Tasty samples and recipes provided.

Pilgrim’s Market Vegetarian Diet Tours
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Being a vegetarian doesn’t mean you have to limit your diet to tofu and alfalfa sprouts. University of Idaho dietetics students will guide customers through each section of the store, offering healthy tips and meal ideas, and identifying foods that meet protein needs. Tasty samples and recipes provided.

Pilgrim’s Market Diabetic Foods Tours
Tuesday, Oct.13, 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Being diabetic doesn’t mean you have to give up all of the foods you love. University of Idaho dietetics students will guide customers through each section of the store offering healthy tips and meal ideas, and identifying foods that help people stick to a diabetic diet. Tasty samples and recipes provided.

Pilgrim’s Market Weight Management Tours
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Healthy cooking and eating when you have diabetes doesn’t have to be difficult. Tour the market with dietetics students and learn how to interpret food label nutritional information to make healthy decisions about the variety of products available and identify cautionary items. Tours are interactive and allow time to browse and discuss a variety of products to help people meet weight management goals. Tasty samples and recipes provided.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.  

Media Contact: Donna Emert, University Communications, (208) 640-1609, demert@uidaho.edu  

Media Note: Professor SeAnne Safaii’s name is pronounced "See-Ann Sof-eye-ee"



About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.