diet

ConnCAP and SNAP-Ed/EFNEP

Riley holding a MyPlate in front of a white board with nutrition tips

Article by Riley Courtney

In July, Heather Peracchio, RDN and summer Extension intern Riley Courtney visited UConn’s Stamford campus for the purpose of providing nutrition and healthy eating education to teen members of the ConnCAP program. To start off, the two instructed the group on some principals of nutrition using the USDA’s MyPlate as a centerpiece. From there, they covered budget friendly tips on choosing the least expensive, healthiest options when perusing the aisle to spicing up typical college dorm go to’s with extra nutrition. Teens used photos of common foods to come up with healthy meal combinations that included more fruits and vegetables. As a culmination of this effort, a brief cooking demonstration and tasting was offered featuring a quick and easy yogurt parfait recipe including whole grain oat cereal, fresh and frozen fruits, and fat-free vanilla yogurt. All in all, the SNAP-Ed team had the class covered.

Comments on the Workshop:

  • Most Useful
    • Eating better on a budget handout
    • Getting more creative with leftovers
    • Being more creative with food
    • Combining unhealthy with healthy foods
    • Meal planning and budgeting tips
    • Eating fruits and veggies in season
    • Using food photo cards to create a nutritious meal
  • Tips to Use Going Forward
    • Knowing what foods mix well with others
    • Being more creative
    • To meal plan
    • To eat more fruits/veggies
    • Try new foods
    • How to save money
    • Compare and contrast technique
    • Looking at the unit prices of foods
  • Helpful Info for Future Workshops
    • Working out and more info about nutrients
    • Making new foods, food/cooking demos
    • Making foods already eating healthier

What is SNAP-Ed? Intern Jenna Zydanowicz Explains

Jenna ZydanowiczMy name is Jenna Zydanowicz, I am a rising junior, and an Allied Health Science major. I have a passion for nutrition, engaging with the community, and trying to promote healthy lifestyles. I love being able to educate families, children, and adults on the importance of nutrition and still eating well on a low income budget. I am an intern for UConn School and Family, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- Education Program (SNAP-Ed). The purpose of the SNAP-Ed program is to assess, develop, implement, and evaluate tailored direct nutrition education to SNAP recipients at multiple diverse sites in numerous Connecticut towns. We provide fact-based and tailored online information to support healthy eating and physical activity. A few of our direct education reaches parents of young toddlers, preschoolers, and parents with children ages 5 to 18. We also reach adults, senior centers, food pantries and mobile food distribution to provide recipes and information related to healthy eating for those in need. We facilitate access to affordable healthy foods by partnering with experts at UConn and in the community. We use multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach target audiences and provide easy access to nutrition information. We provide many different types of nutrition related resources such as recipes, handouts, food samples, and access to our Healthy Family CT website. A few goals the SNAP- Ed program have are to increase the target audience’s knowledge and skill to achieve healthier diet and access local and affordable healthy food, improve their willingness to consume a healthier diet while encouraging an increase in physical activities, and increase their diet quality.

Website: https://healthyfamilyct.cahnr.uconn.edu/

Nutrition Education in the Community Through SNAP-Ed

Brooke BoscoHello everyone! My name is Brooke Bosco, and I am a rising senior majoring in Dietetics. This summer I am an extension intern working with the UConn School and Family Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education Program (SNAP-Ed). UConn Healthy Family CT SNAP-Ed works towards accomplishing Connecticut’s goals and objectives to deliver nutrition education and physical activity messages to SNAP-Ed recipients and those who are eligible. We focus on delivering fact-based, tailored nutrition education to our target population of income-challenged adults, families, and children who may be experiencing food insecurity. We reach these groups in different towns including East Hartford, New Britain, Manchester, Willimantic, Enfield, and Hartford.

Part of my work is delivering direct and indirect nutrition education in different areas of the community, including elementary schools, senior centers, public libraries, community events, food pantries, and Foodshare mobile. I am also working with other SNAP-Ed team members to enhance the material on Healthy Family CT’s website and social media accounts, which also focuses on reaching our target audience with nutrition education. We hope that our education increases our audience’s knowledge and skills to achieve healthier diets and access local and affordable healthy food. We also hope that it improves their willingness to consume a healthier diet and increase physical activity.

I developed an interest in community nutrition during my supervised practice training this past spring semester. Nutrition education is so important in low-income communities because it helps to prevent nutrition-related health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. These health issues can create even more hardship and financial burden for this community. It has been an amazing opportunity to be a part of this effort! I encourage you to check out UConn Healthy Family CT’s website (https://healthyfamilyct.cahnr.uconn.edu/) and social media accounts with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Cholesterol Education with the UConn Dietetics Program

Written by UConn Dietetics student Madeline Fulton

93 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. Nearly 29 million adult Americans have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL.1

Too much cholesterol circulating in your blood can put you at risk for developing heart disease and stroke. What is cholesterol? It’s a waxy, fat-like substance made by our livers. Cholesterol is needed for our bodies to produce hormones, digest fatty foods, and other important jobs. Our bodies produce the right amount of cholesterol needed. There are two types of cholesterol we care most about: “GOOD” (aka HDL) and “BAD” (aka LDL). We want more “GOOD” cholesterol in our bodies because it helps our bodies get rid of the “BAD” cholesterol. The “BAD”, or less healthy cholesterol, can build up over time and cause our arteries to become stiff and narrow. This reduces the blood flow which could result in blockage to the heart (a heart attack) or the brain (a stroke). Cholesterol in our blood is affected MOST by eating saturated fats (fatty meats, butter, baked goods) and trans fats (fried fast food, vegetable oil, microwave popcorn, some stick margarines).

The way you can help yourself and improve your cholesterol levels is to:

  1. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. Don’t miss doctor’s appointments or lab work.

    chart with cholesterol guidelienes
    National Cholesterol Education Program Guidelines, 2018
  2. Learn and be aware of the foods that can help you control your good and bad cholesterol, as well as, the saturated and trans fats you eat:
    • “Good” cholesterol (aka HDL) is affected in a good way by foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, olive oil, canola oil, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), flax and chia seeds, avocado, high fiber fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
    • “Bad” cholesterol (aka LDL) is affected by foods like fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy products, deep-fried fast foods, processed foods (chips, cookies, other snack foods), and butter.
    • Review your diet. Only on occasion should you eat rich (highly marbled) meats, cream, butter, and fried foods.
  1. Participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Aerobic exercise (those that increase your heart rate) can help improve your GOOD cholesterol levels. Aerobic types of exercise include: walking, running, biking, or jumping rope.2
  2. Drink alcohol in moderation. The current recommendation for females is up to one drink per day; while the recommendation for males is up to two drinks per day. “One drink” is considered one glass (5 oz.) of wine, one beer (12 oz), or 1.5 oz of hard liquor.3
  3. If diet and exercise plans don’t seem to be lowering your cholesterol numbers into a healthy range, medication might be necessary. Make sure to speak with your doctor to see what plan will work best for you!

Tip: Small changes go a long way when it comes to managing your cholesterol! The small changes will add up, helping you to develop long-lasting lifestyle and nutrition changes.

Citations

  1. Virani SS, Alonso A, Benjamin EJ, Bittencourt MS, Callaway CW, Carson AP, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2020 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2020. Accessed September 21, 2020.
  2. S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008. Health (San Francisco) 2008 Physical Activity. Accessed September 21, 2020.
  3. Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of. 2015. “2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (8th edition). Accessed September 21, 2020.

This material is funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.