Friday, May 13, 2011

Field trip to the grocery store teaches TANF families how to eat healthy on a budget

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Wouldn't it be great to have a dietician walk with you as you shopped for your groceries? Imagine being advised on what were the best products for both your health and your wallet.

For residents in our Tenants Empowerment Network Housing Program, that was exactly the case this week. Our CRISP program held its first healthy eating workshop on Thursday evening, taking 24 residents to the beautiful Giant in southeast DC to walk the aisles and learn how to eat healthy on a limited budget.

CRISP is geared toward working with families on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) to fight obesity and unhealthy eating habits. Through a series of workshops and community events, CRISP will focus on teaching how to eat right on a tight budget, including by sharing recipes, taking trips together and discussing many different angels to nutrition.

The evening began with a discussion on how to properly read a nutrition label, get the best deal by comparing unit prices and a question and answer session on topics ranging from juices to sodium to dietary restrictions for diabetics. Then it was out into the store.

We hit the frozen food aisle, the dairy section (turns out cheese, while delicious, is not that great for you) and moved to snacks (peanut butter is great for kids). Our dietitian demonstrated what a good plate should look like (heavy on the veggies, light on the starches) and even gave advice on ice cream selection.

For a first outing, it was a very good start. I’d love to have a dietitian with me every time I’m at the store – it is advice everyone can use. Stay tuned for our next workshops - we'll be having more throughout the summer. If you are interested in helping or participating, leave a comment!