Story by Suzanne Ady        August 18, 2010

Local dietitian gives grocery store tours to promote good eating habits

Dietitian Tracy Konoske says the pressure food has on society especially women — is enormous.

“Food affects everything we do,” said Konoske, who runs her own company, Healthy Lifestyles. “And women … we meet our girlfriends for lunch, we do most of the shopping and cooking for our families and we often compete with our friends to be the thinnest.”

So Konoske wasn’t surprised when all of the participants at her grocery store tour of Good Earth Market last Wednesday were women.

Konoske started giving grocery store tours after graduating in 1998 from Bastyr University, the largest university for natural health arts and sciences in the United States. With a master’s degree in nutrition, Konoske established a private practice in Great Falls and then began commuting to the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation in northern Montana.

She soon realized talking to clients in her office about nutrition wasn’t nearly as effective as showing them examples.

“I would tell people to buy cereal or whole wheat bread, but they would want to know what kind to buy,” Konoske explained. “Lots of products in the grocery store can be very deceptive. When I give a tour, we can go row by row and really hone in on specifics.”

On the reservation, she even worked with people at restaurants such as Pizza Hut to show them better nutritional menu choices.

Konoske, who now lives near Billings, does eat some organic foods. But she shops at a variety of places and said her tours can be applied anywhere. Her vision is to be available in a coaching capacity for her clients and her main goals are to problem solve, help people feel better and teach skills her clients will have for life.

Konoske’s new targets are the five F’s: family, friends, fitness, finances and fun for a fantastic future.

The feedback from her grocery store tour last week was very positive, Konoske said.

“They loved it and were pretty excited,” she said. “I heard a lot of things similar to when I gave tours in Great Falls. People learn these things and are like, ‘I just had no idea.’ ”

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