Want to learn more about how to make healthy meals on a budget or how to keep your kids healthy? Our Healthy Family Connecticut website has various resources that can help.
Participants at the Village Family Resource Center at Burns Latino Studies Academy in Hartford wanted more information on health and nutrition. Our Expanded Food and Nutrition Education program (EFNEP) partnered with the Family Resource Center to provide five educational outreach sessions in 2019. Community members wanted to learn about food security, healthy choices, feeding children, quick and easy healthy recipes, how to include more fruits and vegetables, and how to save time and money. Parents shared with our team that they struggle with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health issues.
The workshop series covered food safety, reading and understanding food facts, meal planning, MyPlate, and portion control. We made our own spices to substitute Adobo, Sazón, and a mix of herbs and spices for soups to control sodium intake. In another workshop we made a quick and easy lasagna using spinach and zucchini.
Participants learned measuring skills, and how to use new kitchen tools to make prep time fast and easy. We also helped them develop meal planning strategies with ingredients they have at home. We encouraged them to track their spending, and have their children help with the math for extra practice.
One parent shared with us, “I am a diabetic and have been trying to start eating healthy. It has been so hard because I didn’t know what foods and how much I could eat. Now I am making changes, measuring, and using an app to keep track.” After a few diet analyses she was making positive changes that she also shared with her dietician.
We are continuing to serve community members in Hartford, and provide educational outreach programs that help improve nutrition and health outcomes. Our EFNEP program also works with other communities statewide to help our residents.
Article by Angela Caldera
Check out this awesome recipe shared by our UConn Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program- EFNEP Educator Erica!
Energy Trail Mix
Many prepackaged trail mixes are very expensive, plus they might have extra added sugar or salt that you don’t need. You may never buy a bagged trail mix again after you try our recipe! We’ve also got Sweet and Salty Trail Mix you should try too!
Makes: 8 servings
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts, chopped
¾ cup pumpkin seeds
¾ cup sunflower seeds
1½ cups Chex cereal
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix apricots, cranberries, walnuts, seeds, and cereal in a bowl.
Sprinkle some of the cinnamon and stir. Repeat until all is covered.
Divide trail mix into 8 baggies.
Read more at https://www.snap4ct.org/energy-trail-mix.html
Our UConn Expanded Food and Education Program (EFNEP) educators are often answer questions from participants about weight loss. Heather Pease, one of our EFNEP educators, offers the following guidelines:
How do I lose weight?
The beginning of a new year turns our focus towards renewal and change. Many people will make a “new year’s resolution” such as losing weight.
Losing weight requires changing habits and behavior. Instead of losing –let’s put the focus on ADDING physical activity for stronger bodies and eating more nutrient dense foods that builds healthy bodies!
“Smart goals” or specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely intentions can help you make a plan for success. If you want to lose weight in the new decade- ask yourself:
- Track what you eat for a week – where can you make some changes?
- Eat less calories and move more-
- Add more:
- Fruits and Vegetables are low in calories, and high in nutrients
- Add more: moving!
- Try a free food tracking app to figure out the quality and quantity of food you are eating.
- It can also tell you how many calories are you eating? How many calories are you burning?
Measure: How will you measure your changes?
- Use measuring cups and timers to help you identify how much you are eating and moving
- Log your movement with your phone
- Try a free app like google fit or apple health to help measure movement.
Attainable: What steps will take to lose weight
Try using your phone to schedule 3 minute movements every hour at work- That’s 24 minutes of movement- try walking in place or go for a walk
Realistic: It takes time and intention to make change
- Try to do add on to something you already do that is a good habit- when you eat dinner use a smaller plate
- Try to set a small goal of exercising for 10 minutes; set a reminder schedule it at the same time every day and it will soon catch on
Timely: Most goals have a deadline- when do you hope to achieve your goal- remember weight loss is about sustainability and health
- With weight loss the TIME piece can be how much time it takes to lose weight (usually 1 -2 pounds a month and maintain your new habits.
- Use time to help you ease into new habits, walk 20 minutes after work every day in my house instead of eating. It is important to look at present habits and make small intentional changes J
- Focus on adding minutes and activities to increase your physical activity, stamina and strength
Article by Heather Pease
Are you ready to #serveupchange in your community? Apply now for a year of service with FoodCorps Connecticut! The deadline is March 15, but aim to submit early: we’re reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Go to http://foodcorps.org/apply to apply yourself (or share this post with a leader who shares our passion for healthy food in schools!)
Trick or Treat:
Halloween is filled with sweet temptations and scary over-eating. Here are a few tips to help both adults and children avoid over indulging.
Be a role model!
Make sure your little goblins eat a healthy meal before trick or treating. Create a Healthy Family Halloween Tradition like Butternut Squash soup. Pair it with Grilled Cheese with thinly sliced apples or Raisin Bread cut into ghosts or jack-o-lanterns. YUM! Your family will associate Halloween with a fall family meal instead of just candy collection. They will look forward this delicious treat!
Try giving out stickers, pencils, erasers or some other non-food item. Candy can run as much as 50 dollars for some households. Nonfood items are a fun alternative and can cost a lot less! The non-food leftovers can be saved for next year or donated to a local school. Try pre-packed pretzels or a nutritious alternative.
Go to every other house so you do not have as much candy.
It’s scary out there!
Tell children to wait until they get home to eat candy. When trick or treaters return home make sure to inspect the candy. Throw away any open, torn or tampered candy. Do not eat homemade items or baked goods. If there is discoloration, throw it out. Also be mindful of choking hazards for younger children, such as gum, nuts, hard candy and small toys. When it doubt throw it out. If you must indulge remember to brush your teeth after eating candy.
Bag of plenty:
Set limits for eating candy, such as 3 pieces a day.
Sponsor an after Halloween Candy Drive. Have students bring half their candy to donate to the Troops. Have a Active Prize such as a School Costume Dance Party as an incentive.
OPT OUT: Have a Halloween party instead with nutritious foods and a scary movie!
Written by Heather Smith Pease, UConn Extension EFNEP Nutrition Outreach Educator in the Hartford County office firstname.lastname@example.org
This recipe is a favorite in the KidEats App that was developed by our 4-H FANS program and the New Mexico State University Learning Games Laboratory.
Last year, through the hard work of all, the Allied Health Sciences School and Family SNAP-Ed program reached 5,549 participants and 6,164 contacts via single and multiple sessions. Education focused on: 1) cooking more, economical food shopping, safe food handling; 2) improving consumption of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and avoiding sweetened beverages; and 3) increasing physical activity to balance calories consumed with energy expended. We also reached 33,032 contacts indirectly with food and nutrition topics based on MyPlate and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Enjoy some of the pictures of the SNAP-Ed events at West Hartford Fellowship Housing (Donna Zigmont and undergraduates Brianne Kondratowicz and Sarah Chau) reaching older adults with tips on economically purchasing and easily adding fruits and vegetables to increase dietary quality. A delicious fresh fruit salsa made on the spot served as a tasting opportunity. At Hockanum Preschool in East Hartford, parents and their preschoolers enjoyed “cooking together” under the guidance of UConn graduate student Samantha Oldman RDN and Lindsey Kent RDN our community partner from Shoprite.
All participants seemed to enjoy the healthy layered yogurt parfaits. Our UConn student educators made us proud with their professionalism, enthusiasm, and ability to engage these SNAP audiences! Is there anything better than kids eating healthy food?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Food Stamp Act of 1977, as amended, provides for the operation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) in the State of Connecticut. The State of Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) has been designated by the USDA to administer the State’s SNAP-Ed activities and DSS in turn has contracted with UConn and the CT Department of Public Health to design and implement the SNAP-Ed projects. Under this contract, the USDA has authorized the University of Connecticut’s Department of Allied Health Sciences to administer, design, develop implement and evaluate a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) plan.
Moms from Grassroots Academy learned about saving money at the store while feeding their family healthier foods during a grocery store tour at Price Rite in Danbury last week led by EFNEP educator and dietitian Heather Peracchio and extension aide Juliana Restrepo-Marin. The tour was in partnership with the Cooking Matters at the store program.