Gourmet Grocery Stores Go Healthy

North Texas' gourmet groceries are cooking up ways to serve healthy food.

Janine Kraus said she just assumed all the salads and gourmet meals at high-end grocery stores such as Market Street, Whole Foods and Central Market were good for you.

"You naturally think that when you're going to that type of store, you think that you're eating healthy," she said.

But dietitian Amy Goodson said the food isn't necessarily healthy.

"They do need to come out and give you nutrition labels or say, 'Hey, this is a healthy pasta, but we did cook it in cream sauce,' or, 'This is grilled chicken, but we added a lot of oil,' just to make sure the client knows," she said.

Kraus said she now turns a critical eye on her purchases.

"So you realize you really need to stop and think about what you're putting on your salad or, if you're picking up a sandwich, what kind of bread it's -- on all those little things really do make a big difference," she said.

Market Street has a dietitian on staff to analyze the company's meals and work with its head chef.

"We really want to make sure that our guests can trust us with the healthy offerings that we provide them," dietitian Alicia Brown said.

The store's "living well" menu that meets specific nutrition guidelines. It uses lean turkey, egg beaters instead of whole eggs and makes hummus daily with no additives or preservatives.

"I want to make sure our guests are getting really great sources of whole grain fibers (and) that they're having low amounts of saturated fat and more of the healthy fats," Brown said.

Even the Market Street's packaged products are getting in the act. Health food labels let people know what items are low-fat, heart-healthy or healthy in other ways.

Whole Foods also plans to offer more nutritional information next year but said it is not ready to discuss the effort.

CEO John Mackey recently told the Wall Street Journal that he plans to push healthier foods.

"We sell all kinds of candy," he told the newspaper. "We sell a bunch of junk."

Central Market is also planning changes in 2010 but, like Whole Foods, wasn't ready to talk specifics.

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