At St. Luke’s food pantry in Bridgeport UConn Extension reaches SNAP recipients with healthy eating tips and recipes. Heather Peracchio made minestrone soup with attendees. Canned vegetables are best for our health when labeled “no salt added,” or if you have regular or reduced sodium rinsing and draining the veggies or beans can help to remove up to 40% of the sodium. Here is the recipe.
Originally Posted by Danbury News Times
Heather Peracchio of UConn Extension is a registered dietitian who lives in Brookfield. But she’s happy to travel if there’s a chance to spread the word about healthy eating.
This past Monday she gave two nutrition/cooking lessons, one in Bridgeport and one in Norwalk. Among her messages — the importance of eating seasonally.
“Eating seasonally is eating fresh produce found locally,” she said. “An example would be eating strawberries in June and blueberries in July.”
Peracchio said there are numerous benefits to eating seasonally. One is that you get to enjoy fruits and vegetables at their peak, when they offer the highest nutritional content. This helps support our bodies natural cleansing and healing abilities.
“And there’s an infinite variety, so there’s always something new to try,” she said.
Be present this holiday season
Change your holiday habits!
- Lower calorie appetizers, like fruit and vegetables
- Smaller plates and tall skinny glasses
- Stay on your regular schedule of eating, exercising and sleeping
Know your limits:
- Eat before you go to a party or out holiday shopping. You will be less likely to overeat.
- Make a healthy food for parties.
- Have a plan for eating…like 5 small appetizers and 2 drinks.
- 2 mixed drinks can have almost 500 calories and depending on the appetizers, it can run as high as can 230 per appetizer.
- Wash your hands; try to eat with utensils to prevent illness.
- Be aware of what you are eating; take the time to enjoy it.
- Carry hard candy mints to change the flavor in your mouth or brush your teeth to signal yourself to stop eating.
Start a new tradition:
- Instead of giving cookies try making soup mixes or salsa as gifts
- Make a non-food craft as a holiday activity
- Go for a walk, ice skate, or sledding to enjoy the season
- Try reducing fat and sugar in your holiday baking by substituting applesauce
“1…2…3…crunch!,”was the sound of children at Morris Street school in Danbury as the 4th graders bit into a fresh crispy radish slice followed by a soft sweet sliced beet. Students enthusiastically described the colors, tastes and textures of the root veggies as they explored new flavors this Fall at the Farmers Market.
Heather Peracchio, Registered Dietitian and Assistant Extension Educator for the University of Connecticut coordinated with 4th grade teachers Rhoda Guider, Tom Young and John Zilliox at Morris Street School in Danbury, CT to talk to students about the health benefits of root vegetables. On Sept 18th, nearly 75 students were able to see and touch root vegetables like fresh turnips, beets and radishes.
Students discovered how root vegetables have long been a fall and winter staple food since they stay fresh when stored in cool temperatures, and how the term “root cellar” came about. Heather discussed the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables every day. Take home messages included 1) filling half of the plate at meals with fruits and vegetables 2) choosing seasonal produce 3) eating fruits and vegetables in all forms – fresh, frozen, or canned. Children discovered what produce grows when in Connecticut by looking at and taking home a copy of the CT Dept of Agriculture Crop Availability Calendar Students practiced reading food labels for sodium content and choosing “no salt added” for best nutrition. Heather taught them to drain and rinse canned foods to help lower the amount of salt.
Heather gave the teachers USDA MyPlate Fruit and Vegetable posters to reinforce classroom messages. These are a daily reminder for children to eat fruits and vegetables for good health. Children also took home a recipe, Roasted Root Vegetables in English and Spanish, http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/recipes/roasted-root-vegetables, so families could share in the veggie adventure! Two days after the in-classroom lesson the 4th graders explored root vegetables first hand by taking a walking field trip to the Danbury Farmer’s Market at Kennedy Park. Lessons were funded by USDA SNAP-Ed, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education program.