8 Tips to Healthier Eating From Alaska's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Published: Feb. 8, 2019 at 7:24 AM AKST
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Alaska’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) campaign, Every Bite Matters, encourages Alaskans to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in their diet, whether they are fresh, frozen or canned. SNAP-Ed isn’t only trying to have individuals eat more of these foods in their diet, but also educate Alaskans on the benefits these foods have and dispel the misconception of the difference in quality between the source of fruits and vegetables.

One of the partners helping SNAP-Ed with the message is Southcentral Foundation’s (SCF) Health Education Department.

SCF’s Health Education hosts a program called Dinner Makes a Difference. This is a drop-in style class held on Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center. At every class they demonstrate how to make a healthy family- friendly meal by incorporating fruits and vegetables, provide samples to taste, and share recipes for easy to prepare healthy meals which include the nutrition profile and health benefits of the ingredients used. Their recipes try to limit the amount of ingredients to five or less items (not including spices and herbs) and emphasize meal planning as a tool to shop on a budget.

Dinner Makes a Difference focuses on parenting through families sharing meals and tasks. The program’s goals are to have families eat dinner (or any meal) together at least five times a week by encouraging family time during dinner, teaching children and parents why cooking healthy meals are important, and promoting the importance of families spending time together, interacting, and communicating daily.

Here are a few ways SCF Health Education is making individuals think about how every bite matters through Dinner Makes a Difference. SCF teaches families that every bite matters and encourages them to:

• Remember, whether fruits and vegetables that are fresh, frozen, or canned, they are all nutritious and easy to prepare

• Rinse canned-products to reduce sodium by up to 40 percent

• Meal plan so it’s easier to cook a healthy meal

• Use a list when grocery shopping

• Choose a prep day to make weeknight meals easy to assemble

• Use the ads or apps to find the best prices

• Eat a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables daily to get a variety of nutrients

• Try a meatless meal once a week

“I make my doctor’s appointment the same day as Dinner Makes a Difference! I look forward to coming to every learning circle to try a sample. I keep all of the recipes and my kids are eating more varieties of vegetables,” said a Dinner Makes a Difference participant.

For more information on Dinner Makes a Difference, please contact SCF Health Education at (907) 729-2689.

Every meal. Every snack. Every bite matters!