Teaching with Guiding Stars

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary this month, we’ve had stories and photos pouring in from many of Hannaford’s RDs as they share how they’ve used Guiding Stars and our 10th anniversary to inspire more nutritious choices among Hannaford’s customers. For the next couple weeks, we’ll be sharing their stories here on our blog, so be sure to check in for great ideas on how to eat well and how to share knowledge of nutritious eating with others.

Brigitte Harton, RD, CD

South Burlington, VT


I’m a Hannaford dietitian in South Burlington, VT. I have been doing classes and tours as a Hannaford dietitian for almost 10 years and want to thank you for the amazing teaching tool that is Guiding Stars. When I first started, Guiding Stars was almost one year old and not many shoppers were aware of this great tool. Now I have shoppers and former “students” telling me that they can’t shop without them!

Jessica O’Connell MBA, RD, LD

Exeter, NH | Portsmouth, NH | Raymond, NH

I wanted to give you a little taste of the Guiding Stars happenings in my Portsmouth and Exeter stores. I offer a kids cooking and nutrition class in both stores (1 class a month in Portsmouth, 2 classes a month in Exeter) and Guiding Stars is always a focus and big hit with the kids.

The selfie station was a big hit with the kids when we first received it. I started each of my kids’ tours with the selfie station and the kids loved being the “Guiding Stars Man.” Around Easter time, I used the selfie station as an egg toss. I filled plastic eggs with dried beans and let the kids toss the eggs into the opening. Big hit!

I always open my tour telling the kids that Hannaford offers something very special because we care about our shopper’s health. I ask the kids what that special thing is and they yell “Guiding Stars!” Because I have repeat kids as well as kids that are new to the class every time, I ask the kids to tell me about Guiding Stars. We talk about what 1 star means (it’s healthy), 2 stars (it’s a better choice), 3 stars (it’s a super duper great choice and you can eat it all the time)! The parents participate in the tour as well and many of them make comments like “I didn’t know about Guiding Stars. What an easy and helpful tool to use while shopping.”

These kids are so smart and they love looking for Guiding Stars along our tour. I always take them down the cereal aisle and ask them to pick out their dream cereal, a cereal they would want if their mom or dad let them buy any cereal in the aisle. At this point in the tour, the kids have a good handle on Guiding Stars and most of them realize that the cereal of their dreams doesn’t get any stars. We talk about how this cereal should be a special treat, maybe on vacation or even as dessert once in a while. Then I ask them to pick a cereal they like and that they usually have in their house. Often this cereal has at least one star and we talk about the difference.

I have parents tell me all the time how after my classes when they’ve been shopping with their kiddos, the kids are looking for guiding stars and even telling their parents they can’t get that item because it doesn’t have any stars and it’s not the best choice. The parents also say Guiding Stars has made shopping fun for their child as their child sees it as a little scavenger hunt. Of course, I’ve also heard that it makes shopping a little longer because the child wants to look at every item in the store. :)

Just last week while I was doing a demo, a parent and child that have only come to one class came by and the dad said “(Son’s Name) just told me that this bread gets 2 stars so we can get it. It means that it’s a great choice dad”. The kids really understand Guiding Stars and it’s such a simple concept for them to grasp and the parents love that they can point to an item without stars and have a real reason to tell their child it’s not the best choice.