May 2, 2008

A Nutrition Minute with Sharon Gruber

by Sharon Gruber, Nutrition Consultant.

I started doing nutrition consulting with Bread for the City several weeks ago, and I'm already amazed at the dedication to the clients.

Among other things, the staff is dedicated to making it easier for clients to eat well, so whenever possible, Ted, the Director of Food and Clothing, is purchasing food with less sodium, healthier fats, and more natural ingredients. And soon clients can look forward to receiving fresh, organic fruits and vegetables from a local farm.

There are countless ways that this is positive for clients. I believe that it signals that not only do they matter in terms of not going hungry, but that Bread for the City is invested in their future. The organization is dedicating its resources not just to feeding clients for survival, but to nurturing their overall well-being. This message of "You matter; you are important; you are worth this" might be just as good for their health as the lower-sodium can of soup.

Another way Bread for the City is striving to better serve its clients is with information included in the food bags each month.

In this month's bag, we've included tasty, healthy recipes to help clients with preparing the items in their bags. The bags also are stuffed with other ideas that we hope will inspire clients to make positive decisions for their health. Here's a sample adapted from the May bag:

"These are three easy, kid-friendly ways to add vegetables to your meals:

1. Macaroni and cheese: Mashed or pureed squash matches the cheddar cheese color, adds sweetness, and blends right in. Also, you can add frozen peas to the pasta a minute before it finishes cooking. And try whole-wheat macaroni and your own cheese sauce for less sodium, more fiber, and other health benefits.

2. Burgers: Add fresh parsley, garlic, minced carrots, and low-sodium or no-sodium tomato paste to the patties. Then top with romaine lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and onions for great flavor.

3. Mashed potatoes: Cook cauliflower with the potatoes and mash them together. You also can try mashed sweet potatoes. Scrub and use the skins, since they contain the nutrients. You’ll barely notice them when they’re mashed together."

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