Eating well is particularly important as you age and grow, and an Expanded Food and Nutrition Program called Eat Smart and Move More is helping families learn better skills to make themselves healthier and happier.
Lethia Lee, the Sampson County EFNEP program assistant,t recently graduated a group of seniors at the Butler Court Nutrition site in Clinton.
“These seniors graduated at the site and received a certificate,” said Lee. The graduates participated in the national nutrition education program for a couple of weeks with the goal of eating better.
“One goal for many is weight loss,” said Lee. “One person lost 13 pounds during this five-week period.”
“She eats how she normally eats but she’ exercising, using a stationary bike,” Lee disclosed. “She wants to lose it and keep it off.”
“This class teaches them how to shop for value,” she explained. “They are on a fixed income and they need to know how to fix food safely. Thermometers and washing food help.” She also said that it was important to encourage them to purchase more fruits and vegetables.
“Even now, even though classes are over, they want to continue losing weight, and get those numbers down,” mentioned Lee, who will be continuing to monitor the group through June 16.
“There is the Farmers Market in front of Lowes, and also the one downtown,” Lee detailed.
“We also learn about making smart drink choices,” emphasized Lee. “Instead of soda, drink juice, water or low fat milk.”
During their last meeting and graduation the group was presented with strawberries that were donated by EFNEP. The strawberries are being distributed all over the state.
“We are making smoothies and giving them away,” said Lee. “Each person got a portion-sized bag.” Lee said that they made up a total of 20 bags for their participants.
There are a large quantity of strawberries ripening all at one time this year due to the rains we have had in the state. Lee said that usually they ripen bit by bit but the weather pattern has made it where the farmers are having to get rid of the fruit quickly.
“Some farmers are doing a pick four buckets pay for three deal with pick your own strawberries,” she explained.
Lessons about the value of fruit are among the many participants receive during the program. All, Lee said, teach how to have a healthy lifestyle, even if on a fixed income.
“These classes are for low income families with children under 19 and grandparents with children in the home,” she detailed. To have a class there must be at least 10 participants and there will be between six to nine classes.
“I have 21 lessons I can pick from,” said Lee. “I pick classes by what their needs are.” Those needs are determined by an entry form and ask questions like what meals have been eaten recently.
Lee said that she is hoping to start working on this program with some local nursing homes and has already done the class with the Sampson Home Health.
“The nursing homes really need this class,” she added. Lee said it would be very beneficial for them to take the class and learn about proper food storage and handling as well as gain knowledge that will keep patients from getting sick.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd