Lindsey here. Who’s heard this before:
“I was a vegetarian… for a week.”
“I gave up soda for the New Year… for the month.”
“I’m trying to lose weight. So I’m giving up pasta for the summer.”
Healthy intentions so often take the form of cutting out an entire food group—cold turkey, if you will. If you have ever tried a diet, you know how hard it is to stick it out for the long haul. Small steps are a sustainable way to add healthy foods to our plates. Plus, recent research shows that yo-yo dieting can actually increase a woman’s risk of heart disease.
In Manna’s nutrition education classes, I like to say that a “diet” is not a thing to do, but a way of living and eating. This message aligns well with the theme of 2017’s National Nutrition Month. “Put Your Best Fork Forward” is all about how significant those small steps are over time. Small changes like adding an additional serving of vegetables, or switching out juices for water, are easier to implement daily—and improve your health over time.
Put Your Best Fork Forward reminds us that each bite counts. Those small adjustments can add up over time.
I have the opportunity to interact with Manna’s families in our classes throughout the county. (In fact, in March, we are travelling to 17 classes!) The question I receive every month in these community nutrition workshops is, “If so many of these boxed foods are dangerously high in sodium and sugar, why does Manna have these foods at all?” This is why our healthy wishlist is so important. The families I meet each week at the grocery store and elementary schools are also trying to take steps towards better health. But when meal funds are uncertain, unhealthy canned soups and pasta meal kits are cheap choices. Healthy pantry items like beans, brown rice, canned salmon, nuts, seeds, and spices build healthy, frugal meals.
You can help Manna’s participants put their best fork forward by encouraging your neighbors, schools, and faith communities to donate wholesome pantry items.
Wishing you good luck in your own journey of healthy eating, and spreading gratitude to the community that makes healthy eating accessible here at Manna.