Kids make Carrot and Peach Smoothies at school garden open house.
CREDIT: Jon Sterlace

Stories

Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York participants, volunteers and collaborators share their stories here. These stories are about making healthy food and active lifestyle changes at home, school, work and neighborhood.

... stay active together! This summer families in Groton came together to learn about healthy beverages and got to know each other while playing a hilarious game of bean bag catch using recycled water jugs!

Tina Snyder

Tompkins County

Children who participated in Cooking Matters for Kids series at School #45 in Rochester, learned how to cook healthy snacks and simple meals. They were actively engaged in the cooking and also learning the importance of consuming a variety of foods to get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. This photo was taken when they graduated from the series.

Iluminada Vilca

Monroe County

When I shared that Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York started a “Rethink Your Drink” campaign, one mother exclaimed that she and her nine-year-old daughter just saw one of the billboards. It prompted a conversation about healthy beverage choices, to limit soda and reach for low fat milk and water instead. Later that day her daughter reached for a soda from the refrigerator, paused, looked at her Mom and said, “not a healthy choice, right?” Then she put it back and helped herself to a glass of water instead.

Mary Lee Bourbeau

Chemung County

Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York educator, Ireland, and Executive Director of CCE Wayne County, Beth, were at the Penn Yan Elementary School to help showcase the new school garden. Water flavored with strawberries and Corn, Tomato and Cucumber Salad were featured as these fruits and vegetables are growing in the garden.

Ireland Armstrong and Beth Claypoole

Yates County

At a lively Cooking Matters for Parents class series at an elementary school in Rochester, parents enjoyed learning new recipes, nutrition information, and even exercises! One participant said that “This class has changed the way I plan my shopping for my family and the way that I cook. My kids have been more involved in making dinners and they are willing to try way more things!”

Margaret Liljedahl

Monroe County

During a Cooking Matters at the Store Tour, people learned how to select vegetables and fruits in season, and how to compare cost between frozen, fresh, or canned, to obtain the best value for their money.

Tina Snyder

Tompkins County

After learning this recipe at a nutrition workshop, one mom shared that she had made the Strawberry Smoothie recipe at home and her children really liked it. She said “It’s better for them than soda!”

Becky Crawford

Cayuga County

Look for Rethink Your Drink messages on billboards, bus ads, posters and recipe cards. Take a photo and send to our website: Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York!

Justine and Jon

Steuben County

During a School Garden Open House, Jon showed kids how to make Carrot and Peach Smoothies. Look for the recipe on our website!

Jon Sterlace

Steuben County

Owen helped FLESNY nutritionist Jon make Beet and Carrot Salad at the Painted Post Farmers Market. His mom said, “Owen enjoys eating many vegetables, and likes helping me prepare them as well.”

Jon Sterlace

Steuben County

MyPlate for My Family workshop participants started eating foods that they reported that they would never eat, such as butternut squash in the Creamy Macaroni and Cheese recipe the group prepared. I heard, “I can’t tell that the squash is even in there!" and “I really like this, I think it’s better than any macaroni and cheese I’ve ever eaten."

Tina Snyder

Tompkins County

Deb, Sarah, Brittany, and Jon, along with Project Director, Mary Lee Bourbeau and Senior Nutritionist, Justine Cobb facilitated a Cooking Matters at the Store Event Day at Tops Friendly Markets in Elmira. A total of 32 completed the Cooking Matters at the Store tour, which included the $10 Challenge with Tops gift cards provided by the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning.

Deb Snyder, Sarah Hess, Brittany Combs, and Jon Sterlace

Chemung County

Clients at the Schuyler Outreach Food Pantry in Watkins Glen, discussed MyPlate and physical activity during the month of March. FLESNY Nutritionist Sarah provided healthy tips and recipes for the different themed days of the week. For example, “meatless Mondays” has FLESNY recipes for macaroni and cheese, kale frittata, and pasta with greens and beans.

Sara Hess

Schuyler County

In this Cooking Matters for Kids series, youth learned ways to increase fruits and vegetables, decrease added sugars, and the difference between whole and refined grains.

Michelle Weiler

Monroe County

“It tastes like an orange creamsicle!” and “Where can I buy the sparkling water? I can’t wait to make this at home.”

Shelby Taylor

Wayne County

We did a full cooking demo using the Pasta with Beans and Greens recipe for the youth, who were extremely interested in watching and learning about the ingredients and why they are healthy. All the youth who watched the demo tried the food. And, many who were not able to watch also came over for a sample. In addition, The Foodlink Curbside Market parks just one building over from the Boys & Girls Club, so we were able to walk the youth over to the truck after the workshop so that they could see it and use pocket change to get some fruits and vegetables. Any youth who didn’t have pocket change could get a free apple.

Laura Held

Monroe County

I learned that there are "slow foods." I love healthy foods as well as "slow foods.” Khiara

Jamie Lam

Monroe County

One older participant had been requesting pasta fagioli for a long time but staff did not know how to make it. After learning about adding more colors to their meals, participants added chopped spinach to the recipe. One participants said “it’s better than what my wife used to make!”

Becky Crawford

Cayuga County

Participants of a Cooking Matters for Adults series class learned some new ways to cut down on the unhealthy fat content of standard dishes such as fried chicken and potato fries. With a little creativity, such as coating chicken in crumbled cornflakes, a similar taste and texture can be achieved to a less healthy favorite like fried chicken.

Brittany Combs and Jon Sterlace

Steuben County

One participant noted “I try to be healthy but I realize that I was falling for marketing tricks and buying things that aren’t even good for me! Now I will shop smarter and use the unit price to save money!” - January 2017

Margaret Liljedahl

Monroe County

After completing a Cooking Matters at the Store grocery store tour, this mom reported both she and her son found the tour interesting and informative. She said, "I think kids are more willing to try food that they have helped shop for and prepare. Better to start good food choices early!"

Megan Szpak

Tompkins County

About 30 kids spent their Saturday morning at Project LEAP, a project through NEAD’s Freedom School in Rochester. They learned about Go, Slow, and Whoa foods and then watched magic as a “Go” form of a classic “Whoa” food (ice cream) was created! We whipped up a batch of “One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream” using frozen bananas (and a bit of low-fat milk for creaminess). One kid suggested adding peanut butter or cocoa powder to “make your own healthy ice cream flavors”!

Margaret Liljedahl

Monroe County

After completing a 6-week series with nutrition educator Jessica Kouzan, these proud students were excited to take home a reusable shopping bag of kitchen supplies including an apron, peeler, cutting board, recipe book and measuring cups -- a great way to share what they learned with their families!

Nutritionist: Jessica Kouzan

Monroe County

Families from the James Dobson Apartments in Rochester loved tasting new recipes together and trying them again at home. Their favorites were Southwestern Black-Eyed Pea and Corn Salad, Peach and Carrot Smoothie and Roasted Root Vegetables.

Jamie Lam

Monroe County

Let’s say you are driving a Maserati or a Bugatti. What type of fuel do you put it in? The best! If you want it to run right, if you want it to last 100k miles without any problems, you will use the best. Sure, you can put the cheap stuff in. Go ahead. But you might only get to 50k miles before you have a problem. It’s the same with fuel for your body! Sure, you can survive on junk. But you might live to 65. Do you want to live to 65, or do you want to live to 85 or 90 or even a 100? People are living past 100 these days! You can’t reach your full potential if you are putting the cheap fuel in your body. You gotta take care of your body! - ex-NFL star, Roland Williams, who grew up in downtown Rochester and founded Champion Academy

Laura Held

Monroe County

"You can cook a lot of things in the microwave, save energy, and the food is done cooking really fast!" - Collette after sampling the Pepper Frittata

Jonathan Sterlace

Steuben County

A Cooking Matters at the Store tour participant displays her healthy choices on a $10 challenge to buy one food from each food group at a supermarket in Bath, NY.

Brittany Combs

Steuben County

A mother and her son attended the Kids' Farmers' Market at Tuscarora Elementary School in Addison, NY and sampled recipes which featured items they took home that day from the market.

Brittany Combs

Steuben County

41 teachers and staff from Elmira, Hornell, Hammondsport, Corning and Painted Post schools attended the CATCH School Implementation Training sponsored by Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York. Together they learned new ways to support youth to eat healthy and be physically active at school.

Justine Cobb

Chemung County

Brennan, a second grader, named all 3 categories of vegetables AND how many servings to aim for, and Xavier, a third grader, demonstrated how to read the Nutrition Facts on a bottle of soda. November 2016

Megan Szpak

Tompkins County

“The attendees and volunteers both appreciated having FLESNY here, people are always interested in seeing the cooking demonstrations and learning how to eat better.” - Corning Food Pantry organizer Beth Wasson, November 2016

Jonathan Sterlace

Steuben County

"I have raisins today. After I had them for snack with you, I told my mom I liked them and now she buys them for me. I only had two boxes left today but I gave one to my sister." Second grader at Seward Elementary, December 2016

Rebecca Crawford

Cayuga County

“These classes helped me to start checking nutrition facts labels and eat healthy.” Bonnie Odum, Cooking Matters for Adults participant, December 2016

Jon Sterlace and Brittany Combs

Steuben County

“It is evident that the group is enjoying learning about nutrition. The activity of measuring out the fat … [Blubber Burger] was great and the simple messages shared at the end were messages that were practical and applicable.” site manager, November 2016

Laura Held

Monroe County

“I didn’t think I’d like muffins with veggies, but these taste really good!” - youth participant, November 2016

Margaret L

Monroe County

"It was really good information, thank you!" - parent participant, November 2016

Illuminada

Wayne County

Students at BJM Elementary School participated in Rethink your Drink nutrition workshops throughout October. Youth blended up seasonal Pumpkin Pie Smoothies as a delicious alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. Orange mustaches all around!

Megan Szpak

Tompkins County

About 40% of added sugars are coming from consuming sugary beverages such as soda, fruit drinks, and sports drinks. Is it time to rethink your drink? Check out my story on WENY Midday Makeover!

Lara Kaltman

Tompkins County

Folks at Big Flats Food Pantry enjoyed a Chunky Bean Dip with multigrain tortillas on September 6th. Many participants took home canned black beans and corn to make the recipe at home.

Sarah Hess

Chemung County

Siblings took turns riding the energy bike to make a delicious Peach Carrot Smoothie at the Steuben County Fair in Bath, NY. These kids enjoyed the experience of working for a healthy snack!

Brittany Combs

Chemung County

We offered Berry Infused Water with fresh strawberries and blueberries at the food pantry. One woman shared that she wanted to start decreasing her soda intake and stay hydrated by drinking fruit infused water with kiwi because it is her daughter's favorite fruit.

Sarah Hess, Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York Nutritionist

Chemung County

Mom and daughter helped share information about the “Parts Of The Plant” and showed everyone what each part was and which parts they liked eating best.

Jon Sterlace

Steuben County

Blandford Park free summer meal staff showed all of us how fun it is to be physically active!

Sarah Hess

Chemung County

Bored of plain water? Try a fruit infused water! Add fresh or canned fruit (in fruit juice) into a jug of water or a small water bottle. Rather than adding ice cubes, add frozen fruit for a cold refreshing drink. Adding your favorite herbs is also a great way to mix it up.

Sarah Hess, Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York Nutritionist

Chemung County

The kids at the Chemung County FREE Summer Meals sites posted a variety of their favorite ways to be active for at least 60 minutes a day! Come check out one of the free summer meal sites before school starts. Visit http://www.211helpline.org/ to see a complete listing of the free summer meal locations.

Sarah Hess

Chemung County

A 5th grader at Brogan Manor asked for his own plot to grow vegetables for his family. Other gardeners in the neighborhood helped him by sharing watering cans and seeds. He is looking forward to eating and sharing his tomatoes next month!

Rebecca Crawford

Cayuga County

Kids in the afterschool program at Bradford Central School participated in a series of lessons, some that that featured tastings of different “Parts Of The Plant” and other raw vegetables. Some caregivers report children are choosing to eat more vegetables now, even trying ones they've never eaten previously. The kids also planted an ESNY raised garden bed, and are now looking forward to seeing their veggies grow. Vegetables they planted include onions, cilantro, tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers.

Jon Sterlace

Steuben County

Do you struggle to find a healthy snack that you and your family will enjoy? Try dipping your favorite vegetables and whole grain pita bread in hummus (on our recipe page).

Sarah Hess

Chemung County

Students applied a lesson on whole grains and fiber by preparing colorful veggie pizzas on homemade whole wheat crust. Yum!

Megan Szpak & Josh Dolan

Tompkins County

While the children were sampling their creations, a teacher shared, “See that boy in the back corner? He hasn’t eaten a single fruit or vegetable all year. This is huge.”

Megan Szpak & Tina Snyder

Tompkins County

There was a great turnout at the East Side Farmers' Market to kick off the season. We had yummy strawberry vinaigrette salad to sample. The market will be open every Friday from 2:30 - 6:00 PM located near the Holiday Inn in Elmira. Come visit us to learn about nutrition and try healthy delicious samples! (Photo Credit- Star-Gazette)

Sarah Hess

Chemung County

At first, middle schoolers in Newark were less than thrilled about putting carrots, raisins, and whole wheat flour into muffins. Once they tried them, however, they were begging to make a second batch!

Margaret

Wayne County

SPAN, a grassroots community group in the Clyde, Savannah, Galen area brought in FLESNY to host a Community Cooking Night. For many people, it was their first time having grilled veggie quesadillas. One participant remarked "this is the only way I am exposed to healthy food. Let's do it again!".

Margaret Liljedahl

Wayne County

My favorite yogurt has 5 teaspoons of sugar in it! I learned that I could buy plain yogurt and sweetened it with fruit to make a healthier choice.

Jon & Justine

Steuben County

We had a grocery store scavenger hunt at the Painted Post Walmart. Questions included naming fruits and vegetables for specific colors, reading a nutrition facts label to find a cereal with the least amount of sugar, finding three lean proteins with the least amount of fat and comparing two whole grain bread items. Here they are posing with their favorite fruit!

Justine Cobb

Steuben County

Kids and adults created a master piece of edible art based on a book they have read. This little girl chose the book "Mossy" by Jan Brett. Her creation included fruits and vegetables, even the tops and leafs!

Michelle

Monroe County

Valissa said she added carrots to a Korean BBQ recipe she made at home and no one noticed. She said she felt good knowing she could add veggies without hearing complaints from her husband and 2 year old twins.

Rebecca Crawford

Cayuga County

Students learned about the benefits of eating whole grain foods and how they keep us healthy! They also learned about the difference between natural sugar and processed sugar. All of the students made their own Fruit Pizza with a mini whole wheat pita, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, straw fruit, and lite cream cheese. One student named Joseph (seen in the picture) stated “I love making fruit pizza! I can’t wait to make it at home and I’m going to add apple and bananas slices to it!”

Justine Cobb

Chemung County

Students learned about the Go, Slow, Whoa foods within each food group. Students had to create a WHOA MyPlate meal with only WHOA foods. Then they had to create a GO MyPlate meal with only GO foods. The students found that it was easier to create a WHOA meal because these foods were more convenient and easily accessible.

Justine Cobb

Steuben County

For Heart Health Month, we discussed ways to be heart healthy with nutrition and physical activity. Some responses included 14,000 steps a day, drinking more water, exercise and eat more vegetables, taking winter hikes, and drinking red wine. Participants also received a packet of information for American Health month that include nutrition information and healthy recipes.

Justine Cobb

Steuben County

Students in the Addison Advantage Afterschool Program at Tuscarora Elementary and Friends of the Addison Youth Center made Rainbow Fruit Kabobs. Eating different colors helps our bodies and our brains grow strong!

Justine Cobb

Steuben County

Youth partnered up on a scavenger hunt around the grocery store! The hunt included naming fruits and vegetables with specific colors, reading nutrition facts labels to find low-sugar cereal, finding three lean proteins with the least amount of fat and comparing two whole grain bread items. One participant stated “This activity is fun! It is making me learn more about the foods that I am eating and I can look at the labels when I go shopping with my mom.” Another participant stated “Wow my two favorite cereals have a lot of sugar in them!”

Justine Cobb

Chemung County

“I like the challenge of trying to prepare meals for my family using pantry items. I knew Angel had an interest in cooking, but until she took the classes I didn’t know she had such a love for it. I never really let Angel cut up vegetables at home, now I let her do it."

Crystal

Steuben County

In celebration of Black History Month, we prepared three traditional recipes with a hearty-healthy twist: Oven-Fried Chicken, Hoppin' John and Cornbread. For these recipes and others go to http://fingerlakeseatsmartnewyork.org/resources/heart-healthy-home-cooking-african-american-style

Lara Parrilla Kaltman

Tompkins County

Lyons 3rd graders were very enthusiastic about mixing different combinations of fruit, yogurt, and juices to make innovative smoothie creations!

Margaret Liljedahl

Wayne County

Over 100 elementary school students in Clyde Savannah enjoyed trying kale chips and many went home to try making them!

Margaret Liljedahl

Wayne County

Parents were surprised by the delicious turkey tacos with mango salsa prepared by their children.

Jon Sterlace

Steuben County

Metro Council for Teen Potential teens and their families were grateful to prepare healthy recipes together in this Cooking Matters for Families workshop series.

Jamie Lam

Monroe County

This is a great GO snack and I can't wait to make it at home! I learned that if I eat more GO snacks, I will have more energy and be healthier.

Connor

County

Over 700 people attended Corning Salvation Army Christmas Basket Giveaway on Friday, December 18th. Participants went home with food pantry items, several toys, clothing items, and a 16-page information booklet full of healthy holiday recipes and nutrition tip-sheets.

Justine Cobb

Steuben County

Ali ate 3 pancakes and her mom was thrilled because she hadn't had any in over a year because they couldn't find a good mix that had no eggs. The recipe was simple and used every day ingredients.

Rebecca Crawford

Cayuga County

30 individuals from New Life Fellowship joined me on a Cooking Matters at the Store grocery store tour. The group had great questions about purchasing healthy food on a limited budget. One woman shared how she lost 90 pounds within the last year and planned to keep it off by utilizing some of the shopping skills she learned during the store tour.

Jamie Lam

Monroe County

“I learned how to read food labels for whole grains, sugar, and fat.”

Jon Sterlace

Steuben County

Over 500 people attended Bath Catholic Charities Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway! While folks waited for their holiday food baskets, we invited participants to try Cranberry Orange Infused Water or Cranberry Sweet Potato Bread. Everyone went home with a 16-page information booklet full of healthy holiday recipes and nutrition tip-sheets.

Jon Sterlace & Justine Cobb

Steuben County

Over the summer Jackqui Brown and Elena O'Connor have been working hard to try to build a partnership between School 19 and the Emerson Community Garden. We had a visit as part of our Dig in! curriculum over to the Emerson Community Garden at the Ghandi Institute, and the children planted bulbs with Terry Schmitz of Broccolo to learn about bringing pollinators to the garden. The children had so much fun getting their hands in the dirt this late in the season, and truly appreciated the experience!

Samantha Oster

Monroe County

Supertracker continues to delight folks in search of an easy way to stay on track with their diet.

Margaret Liljedahl

Wayne County

4th graders in the Lyons Advantage Afterschool program show off their artwork: Go, Slow, and Whoa foods, and their favorite physical activities!

Cailin Kowalewski

Wayne County

We had fun preparing a quick and easy pumpkin pudding, which works great as a dip with apple slices, carrot sticks, celery or broccoli. We also made "Purple Cows" by whisking together 100% grape juice, low-fat yogurt and low-fat milk.

Jon Sterlace

Steuben County

Curbside Market featured a bounty of fall produce including beets, apples, kale, squash, pumpkin, onions and turnips. On this unseasonably warm fall day, one of our neighbors posed for a photo with a one-of-a-kind hat made of kale!

Michelle Weiler

Monroe County

4-H Youth & Families posed for the Big Apple Crunch on Food Day at the Old Fashioned Halloween at the Ward O'Hara Ag. Museum.

Rebecca Crawford

Cayuga County

Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York organized a Cooking Matters at the Store event in November. In just one afternoon, 157 Rochester residents learned how to stretch their food budgets to provide healthy meals at home!

Maggie McHugh

Monroe County

We had the fortune of hosting a Cooking Matters for Adults series with a group of refugees. They were curious to try American foods, experiment with different cooking methods and learn how to eat healthier. They used the take-home groceries to prepare new recipes for their families at home. Some learned how to use their oven, and many were eager to continue learning new recipes.

Jamie Lam

Monroe County

On World Food Day October 24, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins Count collaborated with Little Tree Orchard in Newfield for The Big Apple Crunch event. The apples for the crunch were provided by the orchard. The families also were able to pick a peck of apples for free compliments of the Family Resource Connection Tompkins program. This is a great way to get families to support local produce as well as feeding their families better for less.

Tina Snyder

Tompkins County

"I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how much the presence of Josh Dolan at the District 2 NYS AAUW Conference was appreciated. The topic, "Women Rising out of Poverty as Entrepreneurs" was enhanced by the table top display and local organic food offering he prepared. Too often food growing and preparation is forgotten as one of the most important assets a person can have. Josh's presentation helped remind all the attendees of these facts."

Jane Russell

Steuben County

I started putting raisins in my Cheerios. And ya know what? It's pretty good!

Laura Held

Monroe County

What fun we had grilling veggies with the kids at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier Kids Farmer's Market!

Deb Fry

Chemung County

While shopping at Tops, I ran into a mother and her two children that I taught at the Beecher's School. Since I started visiting their school, the mom shared that her children want her to buy healthier foods. She thanked me for helping her family.

Chandra Black

Chemung County

Sai attended the Diabetes Health Fair with her mother, Sadhana, and had fun adding vegetables she liked to meals that were missing this important food!

Jon Sterlace

Steuben County

Over 150 farmworkers came to the Festival de la Cosecha to celebrate the harvest season with the folks that make local produce possible! Many were enthusiastic to hear about healthy cooking and enjoy a day of friends, food, and soccer.

Margaret Liljedahl

Wayne County

The Ibero Amapola Garden volunteers displayed their graduation certificates after participating in a cooking workshop series using veggies from their garden.

Ibero Amapola Garden, Rochester

Monroe County

The city of Geneva hosted an energetic Turn Up the Vote! event to encourage voter turnout in the community and ESNY was there! Music, food, and optimism for community change made for a cheery evening despite rainy weather.

Cailin Kowalewski

Ontario County

Granny Smith won the most votes because of its sour taste and green color.

Justine Cobb

Steuben County

Making healthy fruit smoothies at the Steuben County Fair. Thanks to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier for letting us use their bike blender!

Justine Cobb

Steuben County

"It was like finding a gold mine, or buried treasures!"

Isabel

Tompkins County

In late August, I brought a youth group to visit Silver Queen Farm. Farmer Gordy showed the kids how the potatoes are cleaned, sorted and packaged. What was most exciting for them was to dig up the potatoes themselves. They said it was like "digging up buried treasure."

Josh Dolan

Tompkins County