Shopping For Better Nutrition

Grocery store, super market
CBS/The Early Show
Picking the healthiest foods would be a lot easier if we had help at the source: in the grocery stores themselves.

And now, reports CBS News correspondent Joie Chen, a growing number of stores in places big and small are providing it, with nutritionists and dieticians in their aisles.

The idea is to impart knowledge about healthy eating, and assistance making sense of food labels and all those terms we're bombarded with, such as organic, natural, whole grain, lite, fat-free, low-fat, and no trans-fats.

In a Giant supermarket in Camp Hill, Pa., customer Kathy Williams admitted to Chen, "It is confusing, even when you think you know what you're looking for!"

Williams thought she did, but how can get help with her nutrition questions in that store.

"I look for fat grams. I just can't seem to get a handle on the types of fats," she remarked to nutritionist Sylvia McDonald.

A cross between personal shopper and by-the-book food educator, McDonald offers aisle-by-aisle consults, even to customers who don't ask. She says it's obvious they need it: "The looks on their faces are sort of like, y'know, just sort of back and forth, like, 'Where do I start?' "

Consumer adviser O'Donna Matthews observed that, "Consumers are busier than ever. They are confused about health and nutrition. And I think the in-store nutritionist or registered dieticians help the supermarket become a very trusted source of information."

Many shoppers puzzle over "organic" and "natural" choices, not a surprise given the skyrocketing growth of the organic food industry.

Others just want to make better eating choices.

In the Camp Hill store, just one quick lesson from McDonald made 10-year-old Kolin Knott realize he'd been starting his day all wrong. He learned he should have more fiber and less sugar. The new rule: No more than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

He told Chen his new choices taste good, just not as good as his old ones.

But at least he now has an idea of which are the right ones.