How retailers can help diabetic shoppers during the holidays

Articles
November 13, 2008

How retailers can help diabetic shoppers during the holidays

November is national Diabetes month, a time when the American Diabetes Association seeks to raise awareness to the seriousness of this disease by conducting events and encouraging others to do the same. The holidays are a challenging time for anyone to control their diet, with parties, eating out, traveling, and lots of sweets! But for the 23.6 million children and adults in American with diabetes and 57 million with pre-diabetes, the holidays may take a little more planning and diet control than others. Here's how retailers can help:

November is national Diabetes month, a time when the American Diabetes Association seeks to raise awareness to the seriousness of this disease by conducting events and encouraging others to do the same. The holidays are a challenging time for anyone to control their diet, with parties, eating out, traveling, and lots of sweets!  But for the 23.6 million children and adults in American with diabetes and 57 million with pre-diabetes, the holidays may take a little more planning and diet control than others.  Here's how retailers can help:
 
1.     Conduct an in-store holiday meal planning seminar with your store's dietician.  Planning ahead is the key for ensuring proper diet. With many people traveling to visit relatives, attending parties, and eating out during this season, poor eating can be avoided by thinking ahead. For example, there are many ways to augment those traditional, tasty dishes by substituting low fat ingredients. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla can be used as a supplement when cutting sugar to add sweetness to desserts. Fat-free or light sour cream can make casseroles healthier without sacrificing taste.

2.     Pumpkins are a traditionally celebrated food around the holidays, and the great news is a pumpkin's orange pulp is an excellent source of vitamin A and a great source of fiber and potassium. Pumpkin can be used to make soups, pies and baked goods.

3.     Turkey is low in fat and high in protein, and a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins.  Fresh meat turkey sales have taken flight in the past four Thanksgiving periods, up 74.7% to $31.6 million in the latest holiday period, the four weeks ended Dec. 1, 2007. To attain that level from the $9.8 million posted in the 2003 Thanksgiving month, it took successive annual gains of 41.3%, 11.7%, 16.4% and the 74.7%, the Nielsen data showed.

4.     Fresh veggies that are lower in carbohydrates and rich in vitamins such as asparagus, squash, and zucchini make for nutritious, delicious, and traditional dishes. How about providing a carbohydrate/nutritional info guide in the produce section, so shoppers can see an array of possibilities while shopping for their holiday foods.

5.     Children with diabetes. Here's another opportunity to host an event for children with diabetes educating them on reading nutritional labels (an important practice for diabetics), portion control, and how to make holiday sweets with mom and dad that are healthier. Have children submit/write their own recipes and provide illustrations to hang around the store.

6.     Exercise is key for everyone, not just diabetics. And this is the time of year, when we can all use it the most. Host a once a week walk  around the store's parking lot or building, and give store coupons/prizes to those that attend every time.  This will bring members of the community together at your store while promoting good health.