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From fast food to whole grains: CHEF program teaches healthy eating

Our Creating Healthy Eating Families (CHEF) program, which focuses on improving the basic nutrition and eating habits of parents and their children, wrapped up its first cycle at Family Re-Entry with a potluck dinner. Residents each prepared several vegetarian dishes demonstrating what they learned during the program. Dishes included bok choy and mushroom stir fry; kale lasagna with whole wheat noodles; and brown rice with broccoli.

At the potluck, participants raved about the program and talked about the changes they had made in their diets as a result. One resident, Teresa, was able to reduce her cholesterol medication by making healthy substitutions, like baking instead of frying. Bernadette, who said she was skeptical of the program at first – “I like fried foods and large portions!” – started using fresh herbs to flavor her food and reduced her sodium intake. Gilbert said CHEF taught him to be mindful of what he was eating and how it affected his health.

Participants met with nutritionist Paulette Sinclair-Weir twice a week for six weeks and learned about topics such as reading nutrition labels, reducing portion sizes, increasing fruit and vegetables, and food safety. Sessions included hands-on cooking instruction to let participants implement their new skills.

The CHEF program was created with a $25,000 grant from Aetna. For more information on the grant, click here.

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