Several times a month, you can find a doctor in the aisles of Ralph's market in Huntington Beach, Calif., wearing a white coat and helping people learn about food. On one recent day, this doctor was Daniel Nadeau, wandering the cereal aisle with Allison Scott, giving her some ideas on how to feed kids who studiously avoid anything that tastes healthy.
"Have you thought about trying smoothies in the morning?" he asks her. "The frozen blueberries and raspberries are a little cheaper, and berries are really good for the brain."
Scott is delighted to get food advice from a physician who is program director of the nearby Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center, part of the St. Joseph Hoag Health alliance. The center's "Shop with Your Doc" program sends doctors to the grocery store to meet with any patients who sign up for the service, plus any other shoppers who happen by with questions.
Nadeau notices the macaroni-and-cheese boxes in Scott's shopping cart and suggests she switch to whole grain pasta and real cheese.
"So I'd have to make it?" she asks, her enthusiasm waning at the thought of how long that might take, just to have her kids reject it. "I'm not sure they'd eat it. They just won't eat it."
Nadeau says sugar and processed foods are big contributors to the rising diabetes rates among children.