New Seasons nutritionist Tran Hoang explains how shop for healthy meals. She is available for Talk ‘n’ Shop appointments to provide advice and recommendations for everything from eating on a budget to specialized diets. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Mercer Island New Seasons offers “talk and shop” nutrition consults

Mercer Island’s newest grocery store, New Seasons Market, offers a lot of resources for improving wellness, navigating specialized diets and eating healthfully, including a full-time, on-site nutritionist.

New Seasons nutritionist Tran Hoang teaches classes, provides “store picks” each quarter and hosts Talk N’ Taste events from 1-5 p.m. on Thursdays. She is also available for free, individual one-hour appointments, called Talk ’n’ Shop, to provide custom advice and resources, including product recommendations, coupons and samples.

The program can help shoppers make smarter choices at the grocery store, and address any unique need from healthy eating on a budget to fighting inflammation. It’s also a chance to explore the store with a knowledgeable, friendly nutrition professional. Hoang said she likes to use the store as a “teaching pantry.”

Hoang said that helping customers with nutrition is about “meeting people where they’re at,” with no judgement. The goal is to help people make little lifestyle changes and tweaks in dietary habits.

“Our philosophy is that we want people to enjoy food,” she said.

Appointments typically consist of a 20-30 minute discussion, which can be informed by a three-day food journal completed prior to the session, and 30 minutes of walking the store aisles. No purchase is required post-appointment, and up to five additional guests are welcome at each session.

Hoang said she is looking forward to sharing the program, and general nutrition tips, with the Island community. She went to a men’s breakfast at Island House, and prepared overnight oats for a post-breakfast workout at MI Athletic Club.

New Seasons also has a community room in the back of the store that can be reserved for groups and classes. Hoang hosted a Girl Scout Troop there in January for an “eat the rainbow” class about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, and will work with a Cub Scout Troop at the end of the month.

Hoang said she got into nutrition after spending four years on the road, doing tech consulting. She said it was difficult to be healthy while traveling for four or five days out of the week. She looked into culinary school, but found that the emphasis was more on taste than nutritional value.

She went to the University of Natural Medicine in Portland, which focuses on diets that are based on whole, unprocessed foods. She said the program was 80 percent theory and 20 percent hands-on learning and cooking.

New Seasons often has classes, demonstrations and samples at its Solutions Counter. Shoppers may shy away from certain products, like Kombucha or kimchi, if they don’t know what it tastes like or what to do with it, Hoang said. Shoppers are welcome to sample anything on the New Seasons shelves.

“I’m a visual learner too,” Hoang said. “I like being about to show someone what the product is, how to use it and where to find it in the store.”

Overall, Hoang said her top nutrition tips are that “a healthy diet is a varied diet,” that people should look at the ingredient list on products before the calorie count and that a holistic approach to health is key.

For more, see www.newseasonsmarket.com/our-departments/nutrition/talk-n-shop.

“Nutritionist Picks” can be found on shelves around New Seasons. Katie Metzger/staff photo

More in Business

Real estate market on Mercer Island is ‘active’ this summer

A real estate snapshot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

30Bellevue offically opened for low-income individuals and families

The project was created through a partnership between Imagine Housing and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.

Kailan Manandic / staff photo
                                (From left) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast.
Microsoft reveals project criteria for $500 million affordable housing funds

The company will soon accept applications for projects related to affordable housing on the Eastside.

The first Digital First Chase bank branch opens on Mercer Island with “smart” ATMs meant to fill the traditional role of a teller while the former tellers work as financial advisers for clients. Kailan Manandic / Staff Photo
Mercer Island sees first wave of Eastside bank enhancements

Chase bank opened its first Digital First branches on the Eastside in Bellevue and Mercer Island.

Kailan Manandic / Staff photo
                                The Boutique Lounge offers a shopping space and cushioned chairs for locals to gather and hang out.
The Boutique Lounge open to South End shoppers

The shop opened on May 6 after years of planning.

The data visualized here was compiled from Apartment List’s monthly rent reports. See an interactive chart below. Kailan Manandic / data illustration
Eastside rental market could balance out with the region

Eastside rent medians increased by 2.8 in the past year, a decrease in growth from previous years.

The Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Christian Science Reading Room on April 30. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
The City of Mercer Island welcome the Christian Science Reading Room to the business community

An open house and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held on April 30.

Kailan Manandic / staff photo
                                Amazon recently announced it will move its Seattle-based worldwide operations team to Bellevue by 2023. The company plans to occupy an office tower, pictured here, currently occupied by Expedia, starting in 2020.
Amazon confirms move to Bellevue

The company’s worldwide operations team will make the move by 2023.

Eastside market heats up as major tech news hits

A real estate snapshot from John L. Scott Mercer Island.

The Factoria QFC (pictured here) was part of the phase out pilot last November that included five other locations in the area. Currently, the stores only have paper bags and offer reusable bags for purchase at the checkout aisles. Kailan Manandic / staff photo
QFC to stop offering plastic bags in all stores on April 1

The commitment comes early as its parent company, Kroger, pledged to end plastic bag use by 2025.

More + Merrier offers four different collections that include customizable, modular kits. Each kit offers different options, including hanging decor, tableware, tabletop decor and napkins. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ben-Zeev
Local business owner helps throw parties across the country

Stephanie Ben-Zeev recently launched More + Merrier, an e-commerce shop for custom party decor.