HAMMONTON — Customers at the ShopRite on Route 30 could munch on free cupcakes Saturday for a customer appreciation day.
That giveaway was a few feet from Elise Deming, the store’s nutritionist, who was overseeing a program aimed at helping people eat healthy foods.
“Moderation,” Deming said with a slight smile.
The supermarket was one of at least three ShopRites in the area holding March into Wellness clinics this weekend for National Nutrition Month.
Deming said she has seen that trend grow in the nine months she has been with ShopRite. Requests for her to speak to organizations about nutrition grow, and customers stop to ask for advice on healthy foods.
Customers Saturday sampled pumpkin seeds, health bars, low-sodium tomato sauces and snacks made from quinoa. A display near the entrance offered clementines and bananas to children.
Emilee Andress took time from cashier duty to fill cups with pumpkin seeds. She said many people had said they probably wouldn’t like the seeds but said they tasted good.
“They liked them,” she said.
Deming said one of the things she’s working to correct is the belief eating healthy can be expensive or bland.
Families can eat healthy by buying items such as canned, low-sodium vegetables and dried beans, and using fresh herbs and citrus for flavoring, she said. Frozen fruits provide an affordable way to get more fruits into a family’s diet, she said.
Resident Liz Falciani signed up Saturday for two ShopRite programs — one for kids and another for weight control. She said she hopes the program will help her find new ways of getting her children, ages 7, 6 and 2, to eat healthy food.
“Sometimes you get in a rut,” Falciani said of introducing healthy foods into the family’s diet.
Zoe Acevedo, of Folsom, made the rounds of all the healthy food tables. That qualified her to enter a drawing for a basket of healthy snacks.
Acevedo said the pumpkin seeds weren’t a hit with her 5-year-old, Isabella. The girl said she preferred the tomato sauce and health bars that came with chocolate.
The tomato sauce was made by Little Egg Harbor Township company Jersey Naturals. Owner John Celentano said his Mia Cucina sauces are made with only a few ingredients, all fresh, including Jersey tomatoes, olive oil, basil and garlic. The fresh ingredients are high in taste and low in sodium.
“It’s just like they used to make at home,” he said.