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A healthy lifestyle can start with one option

They do the shopping for you; all you have to do is sign up online.

Fresno State students studying dietetics emphasize the importance of keeping a healthy diet by teaching students about healthy foods and offering free tours in grocery markets of healthy foods they can eat.

Bulldogs in the Grocery Store are student run tours at two different Save Mart locations: 5750 N. First St., Fresno, and 1157 N. Willow Ave., Clovis, which will run through May 12.

“You need food for focus and attention and to be able to sit and learn,” said Dr. Lisa Herzig, a professor for the department of food science and nutrition. “If you don’t have good nutrition you’re not going to be able to learn appropriately, and you’re not going to be able to apply the information that you’re learning in the classroom. You’re always going to be at a deficit.”

Tours usually only take six people at a time because they want to give each student individual attention which they otherwise may not be able to do if the group was any bigger.

Herzig said that during the tours, they not only show you what foods are healthy to eat, but which ones are more cost-efficient and within a student’s budget.

Mariya Kovalenko, a student studying dietetics, said many students don’t know that fruits and vegetables can be just as cheap as fast food.

“Fruits and vegetables are nature’s fast food, and that’s something that we want to emphasize,” Kovalenko said.

Herzig said that after being awarded a grant from Produce For Better Health, which spans from January through June, she handed this project off to her nutrition 166 students who have done all of the coordinating.

Produce For Better Health partnered up with More Matters with an emphasis for people to eat more fruits and vegetables, Herzig said.

“Our goal is to take everybody to the grocery store,” Herzig said. “Even if we are eating one more serving of fruits per day or one more serving of vegetables than we used to then, we’ve made a difference. You’ve helped make a difference in their lives.”

Cristen Whitaker, a dietetics student, said there is a difference between classroom teaching and hands-on learning.

“We can make a difference right when they are making their purchases,” Whitaker said. “It’s one thing to show them in the classroom and teach them the importance of fruits and vegetables, but it’s a different thing to show them proper serving size, show them the actual nutrients, sodium intake and all of the things that they need to eat and consider, and then show them the best way for purchase to their specific needs.”

Yolanda Leal, a student studying dietetics and a mother of three with one on the way, said she does her best to continue eating healthy despite her busy life.

“To me having a diet is just generally what you eat. It’s a lifestyle change,” Leal said. “I’ve made it a priority in my life and to my family.”

Leal said the reason she made it a family priority, as well as her own, is because she wants to keep away from cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes.

Eating healthy consistently is important, Herzig said, because  “Yo-yo dieting” can take a toll on your body, and bad eating can cause diabetes, cancer and other diseases.  

Leal said the way she keeps her kids on track is through time management and meal prepping for her kids, but she sometimes has trouble with her 6-year-old son.

“I don’t know if you’ve watched “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” It’s a kids show, but he always says: ‘Try it because you just might like it’, so I always use that show and tell him well wouldn’t Daniel tiger want you to try it?” said Leal.

Herzig said during the tours they have taste testing in order to convince people to eat healthy.