Food Matters

Protein Power and Portions

As Inter-Faith Food Shuttle works to increase access to fresh and local produce in low-income communities, Food Matters ensures that people have the knowledge and skills to utilize it by presenting this information at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Mobile Markets. In November, our Food Matters Nutrition Education team is focusing on protein options and their corresponding portion size at our Mobile Markets.

For meat and seafood, the portions are fairly simple to regulate:

  • 3 oz of seafood is the size of a checkbook
  • 3 oz of poultry or meat is the size of a deck of cards.

For plant-sources of protein (nuts, beans, and dairy) there is a different requirement. In order to receive the full benefit of these proteins, they need to be paired with a grain. Examples of this include:

  • rice and beans
  • peanut butter and whole wheat toast
  • string cheese with whole grain crackers

The serving size for nut butters is usually about the size of a golf ball (2 tbsp); compared to a serving size of nuts being about 1/4 cup. A portion of beans is 1/2 cup, and a portion of cheese is about 1 1/2 oz, or 3 stacked dice.

We'll also be have a recipe demo of Black Bean Chili Dip for participants to sample! Yum!

Sugar Overload Season and Healthy Alternatives

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle delivers fresh produce in low income neighborhoods through Mobile Markets, meeting people at their point of need.  Did you know we also provide nutrition lessons and cooking demonstrations at these mobile markets to help families prepare the fresh produce they receive in healthful, safe, and tasty ways? It's fall, and the cooler weather has begun to set in. With the change in season often comes warm, rich, sweet dishes and sugary foods.  So this month, our Food Matters Nutrition Education team is focusing on teaching people at Mobile Markets how to reduce their sugar intake and locate where extra sugar can sneak into our diets (like in sodas, condiments, and even salad dressings).

We're showing people how to make some healthy alternatives to sodas using seltzer water and 100% fruit juice to make a fizzy drink that both kids and adults can enjoy. We're also demonstrating how to prepare simple smoothies for breakfast, lunch, or as a snack. Smoothies are great when you crave something sweet and/or creamy, while giving you an extra serving of fruit!

Want to get involved with our Nutrition Education programs? Now is the time! We're still looking for a few more volunteers for our Food Day event this Thursday, October 24th! Find all the details here.

Connecting for Local Food Access at NC WIC Conference Reception

Last week, two members of our Nutrition Education team, Food Matters Coordinator Katherine Moser and Nutrition VISTA Morgan Medders, attended the NC WIC Conference reception, Making a Difference with the NC 10% Campaign held at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham.  The NC 10% Campaign encourages consumers to commit 10 percent of their existing food dollars to support local food producers, related businesses, and communities in order to build North Carolina's local food economy. At Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, we are committed to growing a local food economy that is accessible to all and feeds everyone healthy, nutritious food. At the reception, Katherine and Morgan were able to talk to attendees about Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's proactive hunger-relief programs. They also had the opportunity to talk with WIC directors and nutritionists from across the state about the Shopping Matters for WIC Parents curriculum, which entails guided grocery store tours that help low-income adults to make healthy and affordable choices at the supermarket.  Our nutrition education programs aim to educate and empower our neighbors and community to select, grow, and prepare nutritious foods on a limited budget. Participants in Shopping Matters tours learn information and practice skills that help them to understand how to purchase fruits and vegetables  economically, save money by comparing prices, and make healthier choice by reading food labels and ingredients lists.

NC WIC Nutrition display

This video about our field gleaning program, which makes local food more accessible by helping to get fresh produce from local farmers' fields into the hands of those in need, was played during the reception.

The NC WIC program also held a food drive at the evening reception benefiting IFFS’s BackPack Buddies program, which provides weekend meals for children in need!

BPB display at NC WIC

What a great event for raising awareness of the importance of nutrition education and building a secure, healthy, sustainable, and just local food economy as key pieces in the fight to end hunger!

IFFS Mobile Markets & Food Matters

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle holds over 30 Mobile Markets a month in Wake, Durham, Orange, Edgecombe, Nash, Chatham, and Johnston counties.  Once a month, we bring fresh produce and groceries to communities in need. At many of these Mobile Markets, Food Matters, one of our Nutrition Education programs, provides quick, easy, healthy cooking demonstrations and tasty, healthy samples. The recipes incorporate the types of seasonal produce available that day at the mobile market, so everyone can try cooking it at home!

You can become a nutrition volunteer at mobile markets, too! Find out more on our website here.

First Mobile Market of the Month!

Saturday, February 4th was one of IFFS’s first Mobile Markets of the month!  Taking place at Iglesia el Buen Pastor in Durham, this market serves around 50 – 60 families.  IFFS’s Mobile Markets are an important resource for low-income communities as they provide them with fresh produce, free of charge, once a month.  These markets are located at partnering sights and locations such as churches and medical clinics. IFFS’s Nutrition Education Program, “Food Matters” also attended this market, providing a healthy cooking demonstration while market recipients waited for the market to be set up.  Nutrition volunteer, Laurie McComas, showed how to make a simple healthy recipe using hearty greens.  Since this market serves a large Latino population in Durham, the cooking demonstration was bi-lingual and educational materials were provided in both Spanish and English . The recipe – Confetti Kale – used corn, garlic, bell peppers, hearty greens (such as collards, Swiss chard, kale, or cabbage), and salt and pepper.  For such a tasty recipe, everyone was amazed at how simple and easy the preparation was for this dish.

The recipe was chosen to highlight hearty greens, since market recipients would receive collards and cabbage that had been harvested the day before by IFFS’s gleaning program.  The Food Matters program at Mobile Markets focuses on providing community members with easy ways to use some of the more uncommon produce they might receive at market: eggplants, zucchini, kale.  Having live cooking demonstrations not only provides a sort of entertainment but it also provides recipients with a chance to learn and share about healthy ways of cooking with fresh ingredients.




Kale is a fall through spring vegetable very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium. We encourage you to give kale or other hearty greens a try this month!

Confetti Kale (Serves 4)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups washed, dried and chopped fresh kale
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced ¾ corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup chopped red bell peppers
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

*Substitute other greens for the kale. Sauté collard greens or Swiss chard for 5 minutes; sauté spinach for 1 minute.

Interested in volunteering at the Mobile Market with IFFS’s Nutrition Education Program?  Contact Katherine Moser – for more information!


Teens Explore Garden-Fresh Recipes

by Katherine Moser, Nutrition Outreach Coordinator, Americorps VISTA On a chilly afternoon, thirteen teens from the Alliance Teen Center gathered for a Food Matters Program in Raleigh.  Two nutritionists along with one at-home cook prepared a program for the teens to get to know their on-site community garden and make use of what has been growing there.  Although the cold air intimidated the teens, they were all interested in venturing outside to see the garden and get their hands dirty.  Instructors broke the group in two - one group stayed indoors for a conversation on balanced eating while the other group went on the garden walk.  After each group finished, they switched activities so that everyone got to experience both activities.

The garden walkers were introduced to the garden and asked about their personal experience with growing anything from herbs to vegetables.  The instructor then showed them the herb plants that they’d be focusing on and harvesting for the activity that followed.  At first some teens were hesitant to smell and taste the herbs - mint, rosemary, thyme, and cilantro - but curiosity got the best of them all in the end and they all experimented with the plants and even found some that they enjoyed!

The indoor group discussed their current eating styles and favorite meals, while the nutrition volunteer guided them through suggestions for how to make small changes that would benefit their health in the long run.  While at first, the teens were not convinced that changes to their diets would be tasteful, the activity that followed quickly convinced them otherwise.

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After the small groups had met and had conversations about the garden and balanced eating habits, all of the teens gathered around two tables to begin the activity - making snacks!  Teens at one table used an assortment of herbs from the garden to make their own personal fizzy drinks to take the place of soda!   They used seltzer water, 100% juices, fresh juice from citrus fruit wedges, and crushed herbs such as mint and rosemary (recipe below).  The second table had their hand at mixing up a Healthy Ranch Dressing (recipe below) dip using low-fat plain Greek yogurt, fresh lemon juice, dried spices, garlic, and fresh herbs from the garden including thyme and rosemary.

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Everyone took part in making both snacks and at the end, they all enjoyed their own drink and a plate of the dressing with crackers and cut veggies!  One teen said this about the experience,

“You don’t need to always eat unhealthy stuff when you’re surrounded by natural and healthy foods such as plants!”

All of the participants left thanking the volunteers for sharing their knowledge and helping them learn how to make something new!

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Healthy Ranch Dressing:

Makes 1 cup


  • 1 Cup low fat yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried celery flakes
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk.
  2. Serve with your favorite sliced veggies.

Fizzy Drinks:


  • Seltzer water
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Fresh herbs - rosemary, thyme, mint, lemon balm, etc
  • Fresh fruit slices - citrus: lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, etc


  1. Fill a large pitcher, ½ juice and ½ seltzer water.
  2. Rinse and cut citrus fruits.  Add juice from squeezed citrus fruits to the pitcher of juice soda.
  3. Snip mint leaves, rosemary, and other fresh herbs you have.  Crush the leaves using your fingers and add them to the pitcher.
  4. Mix well and add ice before serving.