November 07, 2014
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A cooking matters representative, center, gives shopping and nutritional tips to customers in a tour of BI-LO store No. 5282 in Columbia, S.C.​

Customers toured BI-LO store No. 5282 in Columbia, South Carolina Oct. 24 and gained a new understanding of how to shop for groceries.

In partnership with the Lowcountry Food Bank and the University of South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, BI-LO store No. 5282 participated in the national effort, Cooking Matters, for a second consecutive year. Cooking Matters is a 20-year-old program that provides educational and health-conscious nutrition information, hands-on food preparation techniques and tips for shopping on a budget.

“Not only do we want to be involved in the community, but we want to be leaders,” said Ramesh Prasad, store director at BI-LO store No. 5282, which is the University of South Carolina Gamecock. “Through the Cooking Matters program, we can empower families with the skills to shop on a budget and cook healthy meals so that they get the important daily nutrients they need.”

During three sessions with 10 to 20 participants each, University of South Carolina students enrolled in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics guided customers around the store, explaining the program and pointing out options for making healthy food choices. The students compared fresh and frozen food items, explored all departments, with an emphasis on produce, meat and seafood, and gave a how to on reading nutrition labels.

After the tour, participating customers were each given a $10 BI-LO gift card to take on the Cooking Matters $10 challenge, where they had to purchase items to prepare one healthy meal for their family for $10 or less.

“With frugal shoppers becoming more and more interested in healthy options, we want to continue to help them live nutritious lifestyles,” said Prasad.

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