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Our Shop Healthy Summer

EATWISE Shop Healthy

EATWISE Summer interns display freshly organized produce baskets.

This summer our EATWISE interns partnered with the DOH’s Shop Healthy initiative. They went to bodegas in the Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx and assisted in making small changes that would both encourage and make it easier for New Yorkers who shop at those stores to make healthy choices. These changes included placing fresh fruits and vegetables at the front of the store, removing ads for tobacco, alcohol and sugar sweetened beverages, moving water so it was eye-level in the drink coolers and advertising healthy lunch specials, which included a sandwich on whole-wheat bread, fruit and a bottle of water. This is what a couple of our interns had to say about the experience.

 

By Christel Solomon and Aubrey Allen

 

This was our first summer working with Shop Healthy and it was an amazing experience! It felt as if we made a difference one step at a time. Even though not every change we made was big, they made a big difference to the community because we helped to make healthy produce more available.

 

We went into Shop Healthy expecting that we would have a hard time working with the store owners, since we were just kids who wanted to make changes in their stores. We didn’t know what the outcome would be, but in end it was very successful and the store owners were very excited and also cooperative with us in helping to accomplish our mission of making it easier for their customers to make healthy shopping choices.

 

We had tons of fun with our fellow interns moving the water up to eye level, putting up price tags for the produce, decorating and arranging the fruit to make the healthy options more eye catching. It wasn’t always easy to convince the store owner to move items, such as moving the water up so that is the first thing people see, but by working together we were able to come to an agreement. When we told the store owners that making these changes would help their community and increase their store profits they were eager to make the changes we suggested.

 

Shop Healthy has been an outstanding experience and it felt as if we were giving back to the community. The changes we made in the bodegas brought us back to what we have learned in our EATWISE internship and through Change One Thing, eat more fruit and vegetables, choose whole grains over refined grains and drink water. Even though the changes were small, we made a major change for the community.

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Eating healthy? Not easy, but worth it.

Beyonce eatting an apple

How often do you see celebrities promoting whole fruits and vegetables?
Screen grab from Let’s Move

by Emilio De Los Angles

There are lots of things that can impact the way you determine and view what you eat and your activities. Today the media is used to introduce us to the latest fad diets and weight loss pills. We are being influenced to consume cheap food with low nutrition content. This also includes the stereotypical personas shown to us on those ads or commercials. These portrayals only make us narrow our notions of what we can eat and do.

 

But let’s go back one step, let’s talk about you and your goal of becoming more healthy and stronger. The easiest way to start is to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat, lean proteins, and reading the nutrition labels of the products you are going to consume! Obesity is increasing in America, this means that people are beginning to experience the side effects of an unbalanced diet. These include heart problems, cholesterol, and diabetes. Ask yourself, “Am I ready to give more effort and time to be more cautious for the sake of my health?”. You will often find yourself blocked by the lack of support, and the confusing nutrition labels, but you can do it if you want it. Make sure your circle of friends and family knows about your decision and if they value you they will give their support. “Am I ready to begin eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and reading nutrition labels carefully?” If your answer to both of these questions were yes, I congratulate you; you are taking a step that will take you far in life.

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Summer Time, Summer Meal

SummerMeal

by EATWISE

When I think back on summers growing up as a child in New York City I remember eating and enjoying summer meals with my friends and family. I didn’t realize that my family and community were the target audience for Summer Meals. There was plenty of food in my house, and my family and I were hardly hungry for meals. However, since I lived in a low-income community, we were the target population for the summer meals program- whether our pantries at home were stocked with food or empty with dust.

 

I enjoyed summer meals because it was a different spin on school lunch. I appreciated the subtle changes made to meals that recognized the summer season. For example, children were given the drink option of orange juice as well as the standard milk and sometimes fruit pops or ices were given as dessert. The Summer Meals program is a great way for children who consume the majority of their meals at school to continue to get healthy meals even when school is out and they no longer have access to school lunch. The highlight of it all was being able to enjoy a balanced lunch with my friends from school while enjoying the freedom of summer.

 

Fortunately the Summer Meals program continues today, and free lunch and breakfast is available for all children in New York City. To find out more about participating Summer Meals sites in your neighborhood call 311 or text “NYCMeals” to 877-877.

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