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MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 16,926
5/6/13 8:43 P

I have a Walmart Supercenter near my house and they have a good sized produce section. They have to, to compete with the seven other grocery stores close together. And the two health food stores. And Target, they also have to compete with the Target Supercenter.

And we are really spoiled because where I live several places offer grocery delivery.

Although I realize I am spoiled because not far down the road in DC, fresh fruit and vegetables are almost non existent. I find it very sad that in the Nations Capitol there are places that have no access to fresh fruit and veggies

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 5/9/2013 (13:55)
ATHENA-NADINE SparkPoints: (20,812)
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Posts: 360
5/6/13 2:09 P

There are now actual Wal-Mart supermarkets that are only grocery stores. I don't shop in them but I've seen them.

Edited by: ATHENA-NADINE at: 5/6/2013 (14:09)
HEAT04 Posts: 115
5/6/13 12:44 P

We tend to do most of our shopping at a Super Wal-Mart. We have never had any problems with the meat, produce, etc. It's more cost efficient for my family. As some pointed out, they do get produce from local areas a lot of the times. It may be a regional thing, I'm in Central PA, but ours is fine. If I want something that Wal-Mart doesn't have, I will go to one of the larger grocery stores like 2 miles from my house.

ELENGIL Posts: 957
5/6/13 11:44 A

Yeah, unfortunately you really saw the worst of it: the worst options are the most readily available, often very cheap, and very recognizable. We certainly have wide-spread, though not universal, access to great food, but we sometimes make it very hard to get to it or afford it.

Also: shield-maiden! I love your user name!

Edited by: ELENGIL at: 5/6/2013 (11:46)
5/6/13 11:34 A

It's actually very good to know that other grocery stores have better options. At the time I was at Oregon (traveling to California) and that walmart grocery store was the only one we could find that was off the i5 for hours. Usually I wouldn't go inside a walmart for healthy options lol I was just surprised because even Walmarts in Canada you can find healthy options but in the USA I found it quite difficult. That's why I was so curious if many grocery stores in the USA were similar to the walmart grocery store (A walmart which sells mainly food) that I went to. It is quite the relief to hear that other grocery stores have healthier options!!!! All I had seen while I was in the states (related to food consumption) was eating out (like I said before: dirt cheap and massive portions) and this walmart grocery store. I was pretty concerned so it's very good to know that I just happened to seen the worst of it


SELENITYLUNARE SparkPoints: (16,509)
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5/5/13 11:59 P

I will sometimes get my fresh produce at my local SUPER Walmart. They tend to get most of their vegetables from local farmers. The only reason I know this for certain is because I know several of the farmers that sell their vegetables to them. When the winter rolls around here in TN, though, I end up going to either Walmart or more than likely Kroger for my vegetables and fruit. During the late Spring through early Fall, though I am at the farmer's market and the little vegetable stands that are set up everywhere.

It doesn't help that here the food portions at restaurants are monstrously out of proportion and that the healthy foods are usually 2-3 times the price of the unhealthy options. It is harder to find healthy foods here in Tennessee than in Canada, but it is FAR from impossible. Anybody who blames their location is just looking for an excuse because even when I went to New York there were a few markets set up where I could get fresh produce from local farmers.

SARAHANN01 SparkPoints: (0)
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5/5/13 6:55 P

As other people have stated, Walmart, even a supercenter with a full grocery store, is the worst place to shop when looking to eat healthy and does not provide an accurate reflection of what the US has to offer as far a healthy options are concerned. I have Trader Joes, Whole Foods, a local grocery store that is similar to Whole Foods, as well as a local farm with its own grocery store, and 2 farmer's markets within 20 minutes of my house. Walmart would obviously be the last place that I would chose to shop.

As far as the restaurant portions are concerned, I agree they are outrageous. I find it easiest to immediately ask for takeout container and split up the meal into smaller portions. I have actually been able to split a white bean chili into three meals before.

KAB7801 SparkPoints: (83,315)
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5/5/13 1:47 A


ELENGIL Posts: 957
5/5/13 1:36 A

There's a *lot* of variation depending on exactly where you live or which stores you go to. I live in NW Washington (just under you!) and yes, there are horrible choices in some grocery stores, but I have the very great benefit of living in a high agriculture area as well as having access to a great food cooperative, so I can get local produce very reasonably in season, and not too unreasonably out of season.

I don't shop at places like WalMart for exactly the reasons you stated, most of the "food" is junk, and it's labeled to be deceptive, and of course the 'all natural' and 'sugar/fat free' as you mentioned gives people this false sense of healthy when it isn't at all. Part of it is the lack of education about such things, even though the nutrition label is right on the package, so few people even look at them, let alone understand what half of the information means if they do.

I try to buy as little food that requires a box or can as possible. The bulk of my shopping is produce or bulk grains/beans/herbs. Eggs, almond milk, and occasionally pita bread or tortillas form the majority of my packaged foods. I aim for homemade as much as I can, and try to incorporate raw foods into at least two meals per day, whether that's just a bowl of cut fruit or veggies, a salad, a green smoothie, or whatever.

It is hard to live in some areas of the US that don't have access to the groceries I do, whose only stores are filled with boxed, bagged, processed, horrible food. It's no wonder that our medical bills are so high here, we don't practice *preventative* health care at all, we just want to pour more funds into health insurance which really does zero to ensure health.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
5/4/13 9:53 P

Restaurant portions are much larger in the States. That's what I notice when I travel southwards.

Grocery stores, well... there's things you can get in the USA that just don't exist here (aerosol cheese spread, anyone? heh). I do remember going camping throughout the northwest one year, just after reading Fast Food Nation (as well as Omnivore's Dilemna and a few other "foodie" type reads)... and I was super-conscious about trying to get Fresh Healthy Food Without GMO's and HFCS.... well! I have this vivid memory of entering a large, well stocked and "nice" grocery store... trying to find just one loaf of bread without HFCS in it... no luck... I went up and down the aisles and just despaired at the floor-to-ceiling displays of processed-this and processed-that. Got down to the meat department... they had a display of "fresh ground pork" THAT SOMEONE HAD MOLDED INTO THE SHAPE OF A PIG'S HEAD.... that was it. I gave up. Hot dogs, aerosol spray cheese and wonder bread it was. I was sad. But... I could have had a similar experience in Canada, too, I'm sure. Just maybe without the ground-pork sculpture... lol...

SWIMOM Posts: 366
5/4/13 7:02 P

I am shocked! A Walmart with unhealthy choices... emoticon First thought is that no one would intentionally go to wallyworld for much of anything if top of the market quality is the expectation. As far as the portion sizes go; people in the U.S. are so mistaken when we think our prices are too high. Just hop across our borders to the east and north and rediscover what a bargain really is IMHO. The general quality, prices, selection, and quantity of fresh or prepared foods is far superior in the U.S. by comparison.....just my $.02 worth anyway. I'm a bit biased though emoticon

GRAMCRACKER46 Posts: 1,683
5/4/13 1:47 P

Gardening with canning/freezing might be an option in rural areas. I did plenty of that when my family was growing. And it's great exercise.

.btw...I'm a Canadian-wannabe. Except I would miss the year round Florida sunshine.

Edited by: GRAMCRACKER46 at: 5/4/2013 (13:48)
LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
5/4/13 1:35 P

Interesting. I have not been to Canada.
The town I live in has two store options for buying groceries and there are farmer's markets once per week in the area in the summer. A lot of small towns near us don't have an actual grocery store carrying fresh foods. There aren't really many stores that only sell produce, meat or bread anymore.
I think it isn't that hard to get healthy foods where I live but the selection of some fresh items in stores may be limited or expensive.
There are a ton of cheap "quick & easy" pre-packaged less healthy choices or restaurants that are probably more tempting to many busy families. It is incredibly easy where I live to just eat an unhealthy diet.

ANARIE Posts: 13,140
5/4/13 11:46 A

Wal-Mart is probably the worst example to use. Even the supercenters and the "upscale" special market WalMarts are known for having *terrible* produce. Other grocery chains vary a lot, but in general, if you have access to a full-service supermarket in the US, you have a wide choice of produce. I live in a town of 300 people, in the desert, 100 miles from the nearest actual grocery store, and even here at the little general store you can get apples, citrus fruit, and at least two soft fruits, plus carrots, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and at least two types of lettuce. It's incredibly expensive, but it's there.

When I lived in the city, I used to spend an average of $7/week on produce, and that was enough for 5-9 servings a day. We had a specialty grocery that carried anything you can imagine; I could almost always find something there that I'd never tried before. Even the regular chain grocery carried at least 300 produce items on any given day.

In fact, what it really boils down to is that the obesity problem in the US is due to too much food. We have access to too much cheap bad food and too much cheap good food. The "obesity epidemic" corresponds to an overall increase in per-capita calorie consumption. Since the 1970s, calorie consumption has increased by over 300 calories a day, and the calories are coming from every food group. We even eat more vegetables than we did then. It's not about a lack of healthy choices; it's just too much food.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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Posts: 2,171
5/4/13 10:57 A

Once I made the conscious decision to be healthy, I didn't find it difficult. People like to make excuses..."healthy food costs too much", "I don't have time", blah blah blah.

I would say the only places it is truly difficult to find healthy food is in "food deserts" aka places in urban cities where there are no grocery stores at all, and residents' only options are to buy food at a convenience store, fast food, or take a long train or bus ride to get to an actual grocery store. These are mostly low income areas. I used to live in a big city and had no problems, but my neighborhood wasn't low income either. That for sure is a problem in the US. But the majority of us live near a grocery store that has decent options, and EVERY grocery store at least has canned or frozen veggies even if they don't carry fresh all year long. I don't shop at Wal-Mart so I can't attest to that, but I do know that not all of them carry a large selection of groceries, just like Target.

As for farmers markets etc, that is regional. When I lived in CA, they were year round. There was also one in Chicago where I lived that was year round but the pickings were slim in the winter. Now I live in Colorado and the markets don't start until the end of May and only go through fall. Makes sense, because the local farmers don't have much to sell in the winter, if anything at all. Heck we got snow the other day!

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 5/4/2013 (10:59)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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5/4/13 10:55 A

Walmart isn't a grocery store, they just sell some food. (As you noticed, mostly crap.) *Super* Walmarts contain a real grocery store with all the usual options. Most regular grocery stores are regional, so I couldn't give any names of ones you might have seen on the West Coast (I'm from the NY area), but it doesn't sound like you were in one.

Most (well over half, I'd think) Americans have access to stores with at least a reasonable selection of fresh (and frozen and canned) produce, meats, and things like beans and rice. The only major food good that seems to me to be consistently low on options across the board is bread: even in a relatively well-off suburban area like mine, it is difficult to impossible to find breads in the regular grocery store that are not extremely over-processed, disassembled, reassembled, fortified, and packed with preservatives and extraneous ingredients. (Deli section can be better in that regard, but that's usually only white breads.) But otherwise you can eat pretty well out of a regular American grocery store.

There are places where this is not true, and where access to real food for much of the population is not so straightforward, but for the majority of Americans it's more a question of too little time, too many bad options and too many bad choices than it is lack of access to good ones.

YELLOWDAHLIA SparkPoints: (94,861)
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5/4/13 10:54 A

Who shops for food at Walmart? Not me! We have tons of great places to get healthy food and almost every city has a farmers market.

5/4/13 10:46 A

I am from Edmonton, Alberta. I have traveled a lot through the USA, except the south eastern US, and all over Canada (and Europe and some of Africa).
While restaurant portions can be too large here in Canada (compared to Europe and what we should be eating), restaurant portions in the US are HUGE! Fast food is sooooo cheap and I do find the variety in produce sections very limited. While I don't mind a limited selection because I prefer to buy local but in the warmer climates (like in Arizona) I expected to see better selections. I really enjoy visiting farmer's markets and seek them out when I travel -- that is where the variety really disappoints me. Here in Alberta I see the farmer's trying heritage fruits and veg while in the US all the farmers have the same species of everything *(I have not been to a farmer's market in the US for 2 years and I am sure that things can be different in different areas).
Also another thing I have noticed is that US recipes often include premade foods -- if I am making a recipe I expect to make the food from whole foods, not throw cans together. And like you pointed out people thing that these processed Franken-foods are "healthy" because they are advertised that way.
I would find it to eat healthy in the US. We are initiated with American advertising here; I really like that I can PVR so myself and my family don't see the ads anymore. I just saw somewhere (could have been here) that if a food has advertising, don't eat it!
We really have to be careful in Canada to not continue to support restaurants increasing portion size and support our local farmers and crop diversity.

LOTUS737 Posts: 2,489
5/4/13 9:52 A

it really just depends on the market and region. i tend to find specialty stores around me that are pricier but offer great produce. many areas also have great farmers' markets. i've been to vancouver and seattle... i don't think there's a huge difference in the availability of healthier goods (in many areas), i think it's a matter of the choices that are made. it's also unfortunate to note that in many lower income areas it's significantly harder to find and/or afford fresh produce.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,498)
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5/4/13 9:47 A

Yeah, as far as the Walmarts go... it's the same here in Canada. They turned some into super walmarts with mini grocery stores inside with plenty of fresh produce. But the regular Walmarts don't carry as much.

As far as the obesity epidemic goes, we're not that far off from the US. However, I think one of the big differences is related to the poverty rate and education in the US compared to Canada. As well as the price of fast food/processed food in the US. It's super cheap compared to Canada. A burger is around $1 in the US compared $1.50 in Canada. Now maybe that seems marginal but when comparing an entire fast food family meal in the US to Canada, it adds up.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 5/4/2013 (09:48)
NIRERIN Posts: 14,102
5/4/13 7:58 A

okay, i haven't shopped at walmart in years, so let's see if i remember this correctly. the difference between a walmart and a superwalmart is that walmart doesn't really have a full grocery section. just like a kmart wouldn't or an unremodeled target [targets have recently gotten rid of their outdoor plant sections and instead have put in a remodeled grocery section that includeds fresh produce and such]. or just like running to the drugstore you'd find some shelf stable stuff, but it's not designed and set up to support fresh, only convenience. in other words you didn't go to a grocery store, so of course you didn't find fresh produce. you went somewhere that sells housewares, clothes, toys and such and for your convenience [and their profit] they keep some food around because you'll pick it up and toss it in because it's there and so you don't have to make another trip. then again, walmart has had well over a decade since i stopped shopping there to do all sorts of things to what they do and do not carry. but that is what they used to do. so in that sense, going to a walmart for produce is going to get you the same results as going into a shoe store. why would go looking for something at a place that isn't designed to carry it? and then decide that there aren't options based on that?

offhand, within ten miles of my house [i live in florida] there are two farmer's markets, a co-op that sources nearly everything from within 60 miles, and two produce places [one only retail, the other wholesale and retail] and that's what i can think of offhand because i shop at those places. there are probably at least twenty different grocery stores in that area and all with well provisioned produce sections [they're small relative to the rest of the store, but there is almost always someone in there refilling, which is good for the produce imo].
so i think it's a lot about knowing where to find stuff in your area. but yes, restaurant portions are huge.

GRAMCRACKER46 Posts: 1,683
5/4/13 7:38 A

Hi I live in Florida and formerly lived in the US Midwest, Illinois. Fresh fruits and veggies are abundant here in FL. Not so much so in the Midwest in the winter.

And Walmart? Please don't judge our food options from that. We have lots of great grocers with lovely produce. We just have to shop smart.

Thanks for posting. I have lots of great Canadian friends.


5/4/13 6:20 A

You are right about serving sizes in restaurants. Now that I am eating right, I really see it. I usually split my meal in half - eat one at the restaurant and take the other one home for another meal. And unhealthy foods are everywhere. But if you want to eat healthy, you can. There are places to get fresh produce and a wide variety of foods.
I live in southwest Georgia - in a very rural part of the state. I would not say we have a wide variety of foods in our local grocery stores, but it is adequate. We also have produce farms where you can get seasonal vegetables. Our climate is temperate, so I can maintain a garden year-round. I grow a lot of my veggies and freeze or can them for future use.

CMCOLE Posts: 2,667
5/4/13 5:56 A

When we lived in BC, we, too found many healthy choices and fresh produce.

Now that we live in rural NL; we find far less options.
I always referred to this place as the 'carb capital of the world'; although I'm sure there are places in the US that would compete for that title.

Lately, however, I've determined that, regardless of lack of variety; I'm going to make healthy choices, and stop using my location as an excuse for poor eating habits.

5/4/13 2:56 A

Okay so I have always heard about how many Americans struggle with their weight. I'm from Vancouver Canada and when I eat out their are usually some pretty healthy options and when I go to the grocery store I have a huge variety of fresh fruits and veggies, meat, 7+ grain bread. Of course their are bad things as well but I have a lot of healthy choices. Where ever I have lived in BC I have been fairly close to a produce market! I have always thought this was normal!! Well I went to the USA and went inside a walmart and I was absolutely disgusted with the options, I could hardly even find a produce anywhere in sight!!! Every thing was processed and full of preservatives. What was even more disturbing is how many products said fat free and all natural and people believed it was healthy !! Eww. Marketing companies make me sick! I read the ingredients on the packaging and their was nothing healthy about them. I only went in the states along the west and I was curious if this is the norm across the nation? Even when I ate out the sizes were double what I would get in Canada and a quarter of the price. If that isn't supporting obesity I don't know what is.. It must be crazy difficult to be healthy in such an environment. Has anyone travel to Canada and to the states and seen what I have seen or have you come to a different conclusion? I am so curious to what kind of differences we have with our surroundings. And comments?

UPDATE : Sorry I didn't clarify it was a walmart grocery store: All they sold was food.

Edited by: SWEETWILDCHERRY at: 5/4/2013 (11:10)
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