Nutrition-centered messages about eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy products are being spread throughout the City of Elizabeth in Shaping Elizabeth’s efforts to improve health and reduce obesity and chronic disease. Our activities have involved many community partners and reached various age groups in our community. Here’s a snapshot of some of our work:
- Toddlers and preschoolers and their parents at The Gateway Family YMCA’s Early Learning Readiness Program tasted different vegetables and served themselves hummus and low-fat ranch dressing for dipping.
- Parents of kindergarteners and first graders at schools #13, 19, 25, and 28 participated in “Breaking the Fast with Breakfast” workshops which included a demonstration of a quick and easy microwave egg dish.
- NJ Youth Corp students participated in hands-on activities and food sampling to encourage healthy food choices.
- The Eat Healthy, Be Active workshop series was presented at Josephine’s Place, Farley Towers and Eport Commons.
- A men’s wellness group promoted by the City of Elizabeth’s Health Department is helping 14 men set and achieve nutrition and fitness goals.
- 100 Seniors learned about food safety tips at two Senior Safety Days sponsored by Life Long Elizabeth.
- 50 older adults tasted and learned strategies for including healthy snacks in their day at a Senior Health and Wellness Day at The Gateway Family YMCA.
- Ongoing monthly food demonstrations, samplings, and recipes are distributed at the Mobile Market at Mravlag Manor in cooperation with the Housing Authority and the Community Food Bank of NJ, serving 150 residents monthly.
- The Healthy Corner store Initiative with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, SNAP-Ed, and Trinitas has brought healthy foods to Emily Supermarket. Healthy “bucks” food vouchers and food samples have been distributed to encourage greater access to healthy foods. More than 250 Healthy food vouchers were redeemed.
- 15 representatives from food pantries and feeding sites toured the Community Food Bank of NJ, with a reminder to promote “Foods to Encourage,” and strategies to “nudge” their clients to make healthier choices. The tour included a conversation to support collaboration by identifying additional available resources thr
ough our new task force, the Food Security Coalition.
Great news! We now have bilingual nutrition staff on board to broaden our messages as we bring our programs to where people live, work, and go to school.
Plans on the horizon are to continue partnering with community groups to provide nutrition education, collaborate with at least one food pantry to pilot healthy strategies and enroll another corner store in our initiative. Connect with our project director, Alane McCahey, to stay up-to-date on this work.