Eat Smart, Live Strong at Terry Apartments

March 22, 2022

March is National Nutrition Month! Did you know we have a team of nutrition educators here at the Food Bank of Delaware? The team educates community members about healthy eating on a limited budget!  

A small but enthusiastic group of seniors gathered in the community room of Terry Apartments for Food Bank of Delaware Community Nutrition Educator Jaime Sherman’s Eat Smart, Live Strong nutrition class.

Comprised of four lessons, class participants learned more about a healthy and active lifestyle. The group learned they should eat 3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day (1.5 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables) and participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days.

Why does the Food Bank’s Nutrition Education team focus on these areas with older adults? According to experts in the fields of medicine, nutrition and public health, if older adults eat at least 3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables daily as part of an overall healthy diet, they may:

  • Get some of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber the body needs to maintain good health
  • Maintain energy levels
  • Maintain regularity
  • Prevent or delay the effects of chronic disease such as obesity, hypertension, and heart disease
  • Add color, taste, and variety to the diet

When older adults participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days, they may:

  • Prevent or delay the effects of chronic disease
  • Feel better
  • Decrease stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Help control weight
  • Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints
  • Improve strength
  • Increase balance and reduce the risk of falling
  • Improve sleep

These seniors were excited to talk about the variety and amount of fresh fruits and vegetables they eat each week. “I love vegetables,” said one participant.

Jaime prepared a black bean (vegetable) and date (fruit) brownie for the participants to try. The brownie received rave reviews and demonstrated that we can make our treats more nutritious!

As Jaime talked about how to get more produce in their diets, either through fresh, frozen or canned varieties, the participants shared their own preparation tips and recipes using fruits and vegetables.

Jaime gave the group practical tips for consuming more fruits and vegetables. She advised them to check the labels when shopping for canned fruits and vegetables and to be sure that canned fruits are in natural juices verus syrup and to look for vegetables that are low in sodium.

She encouraged the group to utilize their SNAP benefits to purchase fruits and vegetables, buy when they are on sale and in season.

In addition to discussing fruits and vegetables, the group also did some light stretching and gentle exercises using a chair.

One senior told the group how she dances and takes the steps of the apartment building instead of the elevator to get more exercise in.

To close out the day, the group played a round of Fruit and Vegetable Bingo! Jaime called out a variety of items, including ones the group had never heard of before!

To learn more about Nutrition Education at the Food Bank of Delaware, please click here!

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