Category Archives: Nutrition

Program Spotlight: Smart Choices for WIC

Laura at WIC demoBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

How do you get kids to eat spinach? That’s a challenge that Laura McAllister seems to have conquered, not through disguise, but by employing subtle inclusion.

Laura is a one of the Food of Delaware’s WIC food demonstration specialists. On Friday, she set up a portable cooking station inside the Shipley State Service Center in Seaford.

As part of the Smart Choices for WIC program, Laura’s job is to show mothers who receive WIC benefits how to prepare healthy and inviting dishes based on items they can purchase using their vouchers.

So she made something that most children enjoy: pizza. The recipe, Mini Tortilla Pizza, includes spinach as one of toppings along with the traditional tomato sauce and cheese.

Diamonte Wise, 4, Millsboro, loved it, spinach and all, much to the delight of his parents.

“I am surprised he’s eating it because he doesn’t like green,” said Dorian Williams, Diamonte’s dad.

His parents, including his mom Melissa, were enthusiastic about taking home the recipe, and she said she look forward to preparing it at home.

In Delaware, one in five children lives in poverty; and many are served by the WIC program.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website, WIC is a “Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.”

The WIC food list includes fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, bread, dried beans, and some cereals, and although the foods are healthy, some young parents may be challenged to make them appealing and appetizing to young children.

So Laura, and Amanda, her New Castle County counterpart, create recipes, demonstrate the preparation and offer samples to WIC recipients. In addition to Seaford, Laura also visits service centers in Frankford, Georgetown, Milford and Dover each month.

For more information about the Smart Choices for WIC program or any other programs sponsored by the Food Bank of Delaware, visit www.fbd.org.

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Eat Smart Live Strong at Luther Towers

Today marked the last of four sessions of Community Nutrition Educator Alyssa Atanacio’s Smart Live Strong class at Luther Towers. Over the past three visits, senior citizens living in the Wilmington residential tower learned more about a healthy and active lifestyle. The group learned they should eat 3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day (1.5 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables) and participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days.

Alyssa opened the fourth class with a review of what the seniors had already learned. Each week, they have been responsible for filling out a weekly log of how many cups of fruits and vegetables they consumed and how much physical activity they participated in. Everyone who completed and brought their log to today’s class received a free recipe book, Recipes in a SNAP!

The seniors talked about their weekly experience consuming fruits and vegetables. Some had no difficulty incorporating the food groups into their daily diets, while others struggled to get the proper amounts. Participants shared tips for eating more fruits and vegetables. One participant had a vegetable pizza, while another sprinkled fresh fruit on her morning cereal.

Alyssa gave the group practical tips for consuming more fruits and vegetables. She advised them to check the labels when shopping for canned fruits and vegetables. “You want to make sure your canned fruit is in natural juices versus syrup and to look for low-sodium vegetables,” she pointed out.

Alyssa encouraged the group to utilize their SNAP benefits to purchase fruits and vegetable, buy fruits and vegetables when they are on sale and buy when it’s in season.

“Fruits and vegetables that are in season are cheaper. It’s much cheaper to buy strawberries in the spring and summer then it is in the winter,” she said. “When fresh produce is in season stock up and freeze it.”

The group also talked about the importance of physical activity. “It’s important to stretch every day,” said Alyssa.

Lindsey, our Summer Nutrition Educator, lead the seniors in a series of gentle stretches including neck and shoulder rolls and wrist and ankle rotations.

One senior noted how physical activity has helped with balance. Another said she had more energy throughout the day.

After the discussion, the group played two rounds of Fruit and Vegetable Bingo! Lindsey described different fruits and vegetables as participants called out the item and covered up its picture on their Bingo card.

Two lucky winners took home a bag of make-your-own kale chips. After the winners were called, Alyssa passed out a sample of the recipe of the day, pear and quinoa salad. It was a hit!

To close out the session, participants received a free bunch of bananas and a small bag of assorted vegetables!

To learn more about SNAP-education at the Food Bank of Delaware, please click here.

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Snack Art at Rodney Street Tennis

Today was a beautiful summer afternoon for nutrition fun in Wilmington’s Rockford Park! Alyssa Antanacio RD, our Community Nutrition Educator, spent the afternoon with kids from the Rodney Street Tennis program. The goal for the one-hour session – learn about healthy snacks and create a Snack Art “cow!”

Gathered around two picnic tables, Alyssa and Lindsey, our summer Nutrition Educator, talked with kids about the importance of eating healthy snacks.

“You need to eat healthy snacks throughout the day, especially since you are playing tennis, to keep your body fueled,” explained Alyssa.

Reviewing the five MyPlate groups, Alyssa shared some healthy snack ideas from each food group. “Kids need to eat 1.5 cups of fruits each day,” as she held up a rubber pear. “And you need 2 cups of vegetables per day,” she pointed out as she held up a serving size of carrots.

“Are those foods real,” questioned one participant. The real-life food items provide a great visual for kids on healthy portion sizes for snacks.

Before the kids began creating an edible cow, they listed some of their favorite healthy snacks. Favorites among this group of aspiring tennis stars, yogurt with fruit, cereal, peanut butter on bread and more.

The highlight of the session was the chance to create a Snack Art cow. Using items from the food groups, kids put together healthy foods to create a fun, healthy and edible project!

They started with a rice cake for the cow’s face. Next, Alyssa instructed the group to spread soy butter on the rice cake so the cow’s ears, eyes and nose would stick. Two pieces of bananas for the horns, a grape cut in half for two little cow ears, an apricot snout, raisins for eyes and two toasty o’s cereal pieces for nostrils!

Viola! A Snack Art cow! Next up, eat the cow!

The kids had a great time learning about how the foods they eat help to make them better tennis players.

Is your organization interested in hosting a nutrition education class for kids? Click here to learn more about the program!

Nutrition Education classes at the Food Bank of Delaware are made possible through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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Food Bank of Delaware kicks off “Hunger-Free Summer”

We kicked off our 2015 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) with a Summer Fun Fair for kids and adults at Newark’s Dickey Park on Friday afternoon!

More than 60 children and adults gathered for a free lunch provided by students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, activities, a cooking demo and inspiring words from retired NFL punter Sean Landeta. At the conclusion of the event, adults received a 30-pound meal box from the food bank’s mobile pantry. Special thanks to the team from Bank of America for helping out with the afternoon event!

The kickoff event was made possible thanks to a $20,000 Hunger-Free Summer grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation. In addition, the generous grant will allow us to operate mobile meal sites in New Castle County. A driver will travel from site to site delivering meals, and a Food Bank of Delaware park coordinator will distribute the meals.

Children will be able to visit one of three park sites, Dickey Park in Newark (Monday-Friday; 12:00 p.m.), Centennial Park in Bear (Monday-Friday; 12:45 p.m.) and Wilton Park in New Castle (Monday-Friday; 1:30 p.m.), to receive a free nutritious meal.

Two additional sites are at the Middletown State Service Center (meals served Tuesday and Thursday; 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.) and Hudson State Service Center (meals served Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.). State Service Center sites are available to clients’ children visiting the center.

The Food Bank of Delaware will provide free meals to 92 other sites throughout the summer. Meals are planned to feature healthy, kid-friendly foods, including cereal and milk, bagels, soy butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, grilled chicken on a whole-wheat roll, yogurt, oranges, nectarines, celery sticks and more. No paperwork is needed for a child to visit a SFSP site.

“The Hunger Free Summer grant allows us to provide meals to kids, so they don’t have to worry about food, and have more time to run, play and be kids,” says Charlotte McGarry, Food Bank of Delaware Programs Director. “Working with Feeding America and our partners at ConAgra Foods Foundation through the Hunger Free Summer program, we will be able to provide more healthy meals to more children in our community.”

One more Summer Fun Fair is planned for tomorrow at Centennial Park in Bear.

Children and teens up to age 18 are eligible to receive free meals. To locate free meals, families can text FOOD to 877-877 or dial 2-1-1.

Check out some more photos from the Summer Fun Fair!

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Senior health fair termed success; more than 200 attendees

By Gwen Guerke, Communications CoordinatorIMG_1122

The Food Bank of Delaware’s first, but certainly not last, Health Fair could be described as a huge success, since more than 200 people came out to the Milford branch for health screenings and education related to health and a healthy lifestyle.

Melissa Holochwost, Senior Nutrition and Mobile Pantry Coordinator at the Food Bank of Delaware, was pleased with the response, since 182 of those attending qualified to be served with food, including meat and fresh fruits and vegetables.

“I really couldn’t ask for anything more. The vendors said they were pleased, and the people I talked to said they learned things they didn’t know,” she said.

“We wanted to make it fun and relaxing, and we want seniors to feel like it is OK to ask for assistance.”

Linda Booth Rogers, DCVA, volunteer services coordinator for Volunteer Delaware 50+, said she was pleased with the turnout and the opportunity to talk with people.

“The fair was well attended by individuals in the community. It was wise to have it the same day the seniors picked up food, plus doing the bingo card to make sure each one visited our tables. It was clear that the population attending was in dire need of all the services provided by the many vendors,” she said.

IMG_1134Other vendors agreed.

Trisha Bentley, RN, MSN, a clinical educator with Bayhealth’s education department, staffed a table with two other nurses.

 “We did 28 Diabetes Paper Risk Assessments and handed out lab vouchers for patients to go to either Milford Memorial Hospital or Kent General Hospital outpatient lab for a free diabetes test. There were a significant number of patients who came by the table, but already had diabetes so didn’t take the risk assessment, but they took a wallet ID card and/or diabetes management information. I thought it was well organized, well attended, and I will definitely recommeIMG_1132nd doing it again,” she said.

Missy said the concept for the health fair was a natural offshoot of monthly senior cooking and nutrition classes offered at the Food Bank. The classes and health fair are supported through the generosity of the Palmer Home Foundation.

“From the mobile pantries and senior classes, I can see that seniors are interested in getting more education. They aren’t aware of the existing services,” she said.

“This was an opportunity for them to talk with experts, and for the most part, it was all I hoped it would be.”

For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s services for senior citizens, visit http://www.fbd.org/program/senior-nutrition/.

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Nutritious food can be fun, tasty and easy to fix!

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

An inviting aroma of freshly-cooked food greeted guests who walked into the Milford State Service Center on Friday morning.

That’s because Lau???????????????????????????????ra McAllister, a WIC food demonstration specialist from the Food Bank of Delaware, set up a portable cooking station in the lobby.

Laura’s job is to show mothers who receive WIC benefits how to prepare healthy and inviting dishes based on items they can purchase using their vouchers.

In Delaware, one in five children lives in poverty.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website, WIC is a “Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) that provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.”

The WIC food list includes fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, bread, dried beans, and some cereals, and although the foods are healthy, some young parents may be challenged to make them appealing and appetizing to young children.

So Laura, and Amanda, her New Castle County counterpart, create recipes, demonstrate the preparation and offer samples to WIC recipients. In addition to Milford, Laura also visits service centers in Frankford, Georgetown, Seaford and D0327_laura01over each month.

On Friday, she prepared a Sweet Potato, Corn and Black Bean Hash on an induction cooktop and a Mango Blueberry Smoothie in a blender for clients.

Kids, for example, might not be willing to sample avocado and sweet potato on their own merits, but Laura says it’s easy to sneak avocado or other vegetables into a very tasty smoothie.

Laura also offers WIC clients recipe cards, complete with step-by-step directions and nutritional information.

And there’s a bonus for mothers who agree to fill out a questionnaire/ survey for Laura.

The survey, which takes an estimated 3-5 minutes, asks questions about food frequency, WIC voucher use, plus a few knowledge-based questions.

Those who choose to participate go home with a cookbook full of useful and tasty recipes and a very colorful My Plate plate for their children.

For more information on this and other programs offered by the Food Bank of Delaware, visit http://www.fbd.org.

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Senior Cooking Class with Chef Tim

0327_senior03

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

You’re never too old to learn something new, and the dozen Kent County senior citizens who participated in the Food Bank of Delaware’s Senior Cooking Classes on Thursday, March 26 in the afternoon demonstrated that learning can be fun . . . and tasty.

The ladies, along with one gentleman, joined Chef Instructor Tim Hunter in the classroom of the Food Bank’s Culinary School in Milford for an hour-long class/ demonstration.

Chef Hunter chose recipes that incorporated food items these senior might receive in their monthly box. All of these seniors qualify for the class funded through the Palmer Home Foundation grant by meeting USDA income guidelines; not all, however, receive a monthly box.

The theme of the day was to offer some creative and tasty ways to use leftover roast chicken or turkey. Each CFSP package includes fruits, vegetables, carbohydrate, protein (the chicken, for example), grains, and dairy.

These seniors also told Chef Hunter they wanted to learn how to correctly prepare wheat pasta, so he took the group into the kitchen to show them how long to cook the pasta and how to drain it was well.

“The key is to undercook or it gets mushy,” he said.

As for the examples and samples, Chef Hunter and the Milford Culinary School Class prepared a tasty salad using the whole wheat pasta, fresh herbs and some of the leftover chicken dressed with a home-made vinaigrette, chicken orzo soup based on a freshly prepared chicken stock using the carcass, and mini chicken pot pies.

Brittany, a student nutrition intern with the Food Bank, handed out samples as chef talked about the ease of preparation, adding some helpful cooking hints.

These senior unanimously agreed the food was delicious as they peppered him with questions, mostly asking how they could fine-tune the recipes to match their personal tastes.

“It’s up to you, as far as seasonings,” Chef Hunter said, suggesting they tie in fresh herbs as they become available.

The students were all smiles as they left because they each received about 100 pounds of food, including a frozen chicken and turkey.

If you are a senior citizen or know one in need of monthly food assistance, please contact Missy Holochwost, Senior Nutrition Coordinator, at (302) 444-8129 or mholochwost@fbd.org.

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