IFFS believes Nutrition Education is crucial to empowering people to meet their own food needs and growing a just and sustainable local food system that feeds everyone healthy, nutritious food.
Food Day inspires Americans to improve their diets and understand our food policies. On a single day in October, thousands of events all around the country bring families together to celebrate and enjoy real food, and to push for improved food policies.
This October 24th, the Nutrition Education division led multiple Cooking Matters at the Store tours at Food Lion grocery stores, demonstrating skills for shopping healthy on a limited budget to low-income participants. Each interactive 90-minute tour helped participants understand food groups, compare fresh vs. canned vs. frozen produce, decipher food labels and ingredients, and use unit prices to find the best buy.
The tours ended with a ”$10 Challenge” where participants practiced their new skills by purchasing items for a balanced meal using a $10 gift card, generously donated by Food Lion as part of their focus on hunger relief, #FoodLionFeeds. Here is what a few participants had to say after the tour:
“I learned how to really look at labels to look for sodium content, and the difference in unit prices and pounds.”
"This is the way my doctor has been wanting me to eat, and now I know how to do it"
“I will make the carrot change [buying whole carrots vs. baby carrots to save money]. I will make healthier food choices.”
Food Day at Eastway Elementary started off with morning announcements read by students in the Eastway Garden and Cooking Club. These students explained to the school why Food Day started and how Eastway would be participating in the nationwide event.
Then, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle hosted Eastway’s FIRST school-wide Butternut Squash Casserole Taste Test! In partnership with Durham School Nutrition Services (SNS), this recipe was developed by the SNS Dietician, Becky Pope, and Farmer Foodshare, who sourced the squash from local NC Farmers. IFFS staff and volunteers passed out samples of the casserole to students and teachers as they sat down for lunch.
All students received educational information about the squash including seeing what it looks like in its whole form. Students who tried the casserole voted on: ‘liked it’, ‘loved it’, or ‘tried it’ (a positive way of framing if it wasn’t their favorite). Overwhelmingly, the students loved it and would eat it again. Lucky for them, this recipe is going to be served in elementary school cafeterias soon! It’s already on the menu of Durham middle and high schools. Durham SNS, the agency in charge of school food, is encouraging more Durham school cafeteria managers to sample our recipes that feature creative ways of using vegetables.
Throughout the Triangle, dozens of kids and families are a little bit smarter about their food choices thanks to Food Day!
Cooking Matters at the Store (CMATS) is an informative, engaging, and effective program that provides ready-to-use nutrition and finance info to low-income individuals.
Get to know Ana Cardia! She's a Nutritionist who volunteers with our Nutrition Education team, teaching Cooking Matters classes.
"It was really rewarding to see how the work I put in at IFFS was making an impact out in the community."
"I’ve never volunteered at a place where the staff were so welcoming, the participants were so excited, and the programs were so fun!" -Meghan Dempsey
You may know IFFS as a Triangle organization, but our Nutrition Education department reaches from Boone to Morehead City - thanks to Satellite Partners!