Finding New Diets in a New Country

Grass Roots: General Mills Promotes Healthful Eating Among Hispanics

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NEW YORK ( -- General Mills is expanding its Hispanic-marketing platform Que Rica Vida (What a Healthy Life), which includes a website and magazine about healthful living, with a grass-roots program to offer lessons about nutrition to up to 10,000 Hispanic women at community centers starting recently.

Rudy Rodriguez, General Mills' multicultural-marketing director, said the community-relations program, called Mente Sana en Cuerpo Sano (Sound Body, Sound Mind), initially will reach women in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Northern California. The goal is to combine healthful food traditions with the reality of coming to a new country, and address the health challenges Latinos face due to their eating habits, he said.

Hispanics are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes and heart-health issues than the rest of the population.

To help Hispanic families prepare nutritious meals, General Mills developed a curriculum of 10 monthly lessons in both Spanish and English, including recipes developed for the program from the company's Betty Crocker kitchen, and training for the instructors from the community centers at General Mills' headquarters in Minneapolis.

The curriculum distributed to instructors includes lesson plans, such as "How to Be a Better Grocery Shopper" and a script that reminds them to "acknowledge General Mills' Que Rica Vida as the corporate sponsor." Ingredients for recipes include the company's brands, such as Yoplait. At the end of the lesson, coupons will be handed out for General Mills products, along with branded promotional items such as Pillsbury Doughboy cups.

The shopping lesson includes a scavenger hunt in a real grocery store, with small teams dispatched with worksheets to find healthful choices, such as whole-grain tortillas and two brands of canola oil.
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