How to Build a Healthy Eating Pattern

Follow these tips — based on the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans — for making choices that can help you reach or keep a healthy body weight, get the nutrients you need, and lower your risk of health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers.

Summer fun, eating yummy snacks, AND learning new skills? You bet! The Southside Community Center serves families who live in a low-income neighborhood on the Elmira’s south side. Most of the kids attend Parley Coburn Elementary School next door. During the summer, the center provides free/subsidized lunches and physical activity on the school playground, in addition to crafts and other classes. FLESNY Nutritionist Joan Martin came to the center for two weeks in July to help kids learn how to make healthy snacks. Using the Cooking Matters for Chefs and Kids curriculum, each week was devoted to learning new concepts, such as cutting vegetables or fruit safely and easily, measuring ingredients using dry and liquid measures, and the importance of whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Then the groups of four to six kids prepared a healthy snack using their new knowledge. On week two, each kid made their own fruit pizza using whole grain English muffins, low fat cream cheese, and an assortment of fruit: blueberries, apple slices, and pineapple chunks. Emma did not want to put blueberries on her pizza: “I don’t like them,” she said. Joan and the other kids encouraged her to try “just one,” and what do you know, “They’re good!” she exclaimed. She soon had a large pile of blueberries on her plate but not too many lasted long enough to make it on to her pizza!

Joan Martin

Chemung County