EBT At Farmers Markets!

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“Thirteen farmers markets in Minneapolis now accept EBT and offer a Market Bucks coupon to help low income residents purchase more healthy, fresh food at affordable prices.”

I know how expensive it can get when trying to find healthier ways to eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always so expensive. But hey! Are you with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps)? If yes, there may be a way for you to purchase fresh vegetables and fruits more affordably.

SNAP is delivered via an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card and guess what? Over 30 farmers markets across Minnesota accept EBT!! Going to local farmers markets to purchase your greens and fruits can be a cheaper alternative compared to super markets and grocery stores.

“In 2010, the Minneapolis Health Department (MHD), Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross), and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy worked together to make Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) services available at the Minneapolis Farmers Market and Northeast Farmers Markets, which has accepted EBT since 2006. Partners also launched an incentive program called ‘Market Bucks’ to encourage EBT customers to use their benefits at the markets. Customers who spent at least $5 in EBT received an additional $5 in Market Bucks, essentially doubling their purchasing power for healthy foods.”

This all sounds great! I grew up shopping at the local farmers markets in Minneapolis and Saint Paul and it has always made it a bit easier for my family. In my opinion and from experience, it is definitely way more affordable compared to grocery stores; and now that more and more farmers markets are accepting EBT, it is going to help families of lower income more. The program trying to promote the use of EBT benefits at farmers markets is also so awesome, you spend but also earn money at the same time!

Overall, I think shopping at farmers markets for majority of your food is a great choice and should already be apart of your shopping routine. You save more and the veggies you get are probably way fresher. Try thinking about stopping by a farmers market to check it out! Even if you’re not apart of SNAP, still try checking out the farmers markets around you. I recommend you to because I personally love them. You can look up farmers markets in your area by googling it or if you’re in the Minneapolis areas, click the link below to see the list of farmers markets in Minneapolis.


Information received from the City of Minneapolis, MN website. Read more about it by clicking on the link below.
There are also EBT brochures, fliers, and postcards in English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali if you would like to have it in hand.


Men’s Health Month

June is men’s health month and with that as a reminder to keep up with your health, taking initiative to maintain a healthy life style is one of the main ways to live a good life. So along with having a healthy lifestyle (eating right and having a fitness routine), getting regular check ups is also an important way to help and prevent any problems before they start.

It will be difficult to completely change your routine and quit any unhealthy habits; so with this, I recommend taking baby steps and changing for the better slowly everyday. When you feel confident and comfortable enough, try taking a bigger step!

Some tips to help with keeping you on track includes: having reminders around, support from loved ones, positive reinforcements, setting small goals, taking baby steps if needed, and writing down your progress to help you visually see your improvements!

Keeping your health on track starts with you!

Men’s Health Month 5 Plays Card_English (1)
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Read more about healthy food choices and the importance of having check-ups with the links listed below. Check them out! They will definitely be beneficial!

Food Safety

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It is that time of the year again! Summer has finally arrived! It is time for outdoorsy fun with the ones you love. This also means continuing being safe wherever you go and in whatever you do. This week’s post will be on some safety facts about grilling, from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Handle Food Safely

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling food.
  • Keep the kitchen, dishes and utensils clean.
  • Always serve food on clean plates.
  • Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food. To prevent food borne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat/poultry.

Keep Hot Foods HOT, Cold Foods COLD

  • Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use.
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it at 140°F or warmer until served. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack. Cooked meat can be kept hot in a warm oven (approximately 200°F), in a chafing dish, or on a warming tray.
  • In hot weather (above 90°F), food should never sit out for more than one hour.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.


  • Marinate to tenderize or add flavor.
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • If marinades are to be used as a sauce for the cooked meat, either reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it, or boil it before using on cooked meat to destroy any harmful bacteria.

Precooking food on a stove is a good way to reduce grilling time. Make sure that the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking.

Cook Thoroughly
Fresh and frozen raw meat, poultry and fish should be cooked hot enough to kill the bacteria, parasites and viruses that may be in the product. The temperatures shown below are recommended for home preparation of food. Always use a meat thermometer to check temperatures. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

When reheating fully cooked meats, grill to 165°F.


Poultry or fowl, whole or parts 165°F
Ground poultry or fowl 165°F
Ground beef, veal, pork, lamb or venison 160°F
Fresh beef, veal, pork, lamb or venison 145°F
Fish and shellfish, all kinds 145°F
Eggs Until yolk and white are firm
Egg dishes 160°F

* Regulated facilities may cook to different temperatures because staff are trained in the use of time and temperature to reach safe standards.


For additional information on food safety, visit the link listed




Information received from the Minnesota Health Department. To view the PDF, click on the link provided below.

Is this a balanced Asian meal?


According to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov., a balanced meal is one that contains appropriate selections from the five major food groups. The five major groups are fruits, vegetables, meat, grain, and dairy. By eating balance meals and snacks, you are able to get the most out of your daily 2500 calories intake. This helps with dieting and healthy eating choices.

By using the picture above as an example will help make this concept easier to understand.

  1. Chicken is a leaner meat than pork and beef. When it’s roasted or fried, the meat tends to be a bit fatty and oily. Removing the skin can help avoid consuming excess fat.
  2. There is a variety of vegetables in this meal such as sweet potatoes, carrots, ginger, and Chinese bok choy. If veggies aren’t a favorite of yours, eat them as side dishes or add in them with other ingredients like a stir fry dish.
  3. The egg tart contains foods such as egg, sugar, milk, and flour. And many other kinds of deserts often contain the same ingredients that comes from the grain and dairy groups.
  4. The sugar coated nuts are another type of desert. Instead of eating this with the meal, it can be eaten as a snack. Not all, but some contain protein, potassium, iron, and much more. Just be aware not to consume too much of them because some can have more saturated fats than good benefits.

So overall, this Asian meal is majorly balance. Instead of consuming the sweets, trading in other healthy alternatives such as rice, yogurt, fruits, wheat based bread, and more can make it more balanced. Deserts and snacking can be treated as time for eating fruit instead of eating salty, oily, and highly saturated fat foods. And remember that drinking many water is the best way to hydrate your body (without the calories) compared to drinking pop, juice, sparking water, or other type of drinks.

Asian Cuisine & Foods

-The Popularity & ‘Fusion’ of Asian Cuisine

In general, there are a few different reasons for the growing popularity of Asian food and cuisine in the United State. On the institutional level, it can be seen as a reflection of the increasing globalization and transnational development in the United States. The economic and cultural elements are gradually diffused between countries, for example, food and cuisine are one of the trends.

On the group level, demographic trends play important role on the growth of Asian cuisine. The population of Asian Americans and Asian immigrants increase gradually each year, so do the number of Asian businesses and restaurants.

Finally, on the individual level, Americans are open to accept various elements of diverse culture, such as food. Asian cuisine are referred to “safe” and “easy” ways for Americans to demonstrate their cultural curiosity and openness.

These days, traditional Asian cuisine is changed into a new fusion style of pan-Asian dishes, which is the combined elements and styles of different Asian cultures. Many of these early fusion dishes were synthesized from Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and Chinese cuisines.

-Health Considerations

Along with being seen as new and trendy, these Asian fusion dishes also appeal to many customers because they tend to be lighter and are perceived to be healthier than other types of “ethnic” cuisine. Currently, many westerners observed the health benefits of Asian foods. Many nutritionists point out that Asian countries have lower rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and many cancers, while these are higher rates in the United States. On the one hand, physical activity such as tai chi in Asian societies helps lower the disease rates; on the other hand, Asian diets are playing important roles on reducing these health problems too.

The Chinese diet depends heavily on grains, fruits, and vegetables. Instead of using meat as the main ingredient in a mean, many dishes are consisted of small amounts of meat, mainly of vegetables as well as rice. Fish is a popular food in many Asian countries, which is an important source to lower the rate of chronic health problems that are higher in the United States. At the same point, drinking green tea is a tradition in most Asian countries, which has many antioxidant benefits.






Eating Traditional is Healthy!

Asian Americans who grew up in the U.S. have been influenced over their lifetime of how to eat healthy. The American diet is shown in a food pyramid that doesn’t really represent or incorporate foods from other cultures. Many people choose to mix in both diet and switch other things. But did you know that many Asian cultures actually have a healthy diet too? Here’s an example of what many Asian foods consist of.

health asian food

So what are the main differences between the two diets?

1. One difference between Western and Eastern diet is at the bottom of the pyramid. Westerns tend to eat more grains, oats, and more. While the Eastern diet consist majorly of rice, noodles, and tofu. A great change to make in your diet is to eat 100% whole grain/wheat breads and switching from white rice to brown rice can be a healthier choice.

2. In many Asian dishes, there is usually vegetables/fruits mixed in or as side dishes. In Japan, even fruits can be seen as deserts and served to children after dinner. Western dishes don’t usually include side dishes and whenever there is some, they are usually considered a full entree plate. It’s just more common for Asians to eat vegetables and fruits on a daily basis due to the different types of cuisines and culture.

3. Some people eat meat daily, rarely, and sometimes, always. The point is that everyone eats meat differently and at a different rate. In many cultures, meat was perceived as a luxury food and only available to the middle to rich classes. But in these days, it is something that everyone can have easy access to and it has become affordable.

4. One of the biggest differences between the American diet compared to Eastern diet is that the Eastern diet consist less processed food than the American diet. It could because of culture differences since America was built upon the slogan of ‘bigger and faster things can produce, the better’. In the U.S., it is much harder to find organic or fresh produces that are not being sent of to large groceries or being very expensive. In Eastern cultures, foods are usually home cooked with organic or local produces from their markets. It could because that they do have better access to fresh produces like fruits, veggies, fishes, and more.

Bicultural Healthy Living Poster

Living biculturally is about having balancing in your life, family, diet, health, and friends. There are many great things one can incorporate in their daily lives that compasses more than one culture. Here is a fun poster on possibly things to do:


Here are other tips to outreach in other ethnic cultural groups/communities:

1. Meet international students!

If you’re a student or is housing a international student or know someone from another country, take the time to get to know them better. You will better understand their background, the culture, and the world they live in. Not only will it allow you to hear from a person’s firsthand experience, you’ll get better information than reading and finding them on your own.

2. Be part of different communities!

Participate in festivals, holidays, and other activities in different ethnic communities. It will provide you opportunities to expand your network and let you enjoy the different kinds of celebrations/activities a culture can offer.

3. Learn about your own culture!

You may not know much about your own culture and there may be many things you didn’t know before. So before expanding out to other cultures or if you don’t know where to start, think about your own culture(s). Try to get involved in your culture(s) through families and friends. Eventually, you’ll find something about your background that you’ll enjoy.


Traditional vs. Modern Diets

Before McDonalds or KFC dotted the landscape of Singapore, a small island nation in Southeast Asia, its residents enjoyed a staple of rice, meat and vegetables cooked in their Chinese, Indian and Malay traditions [i].  These days however, Singaporeans enjoy a westernized way of life that includes eating at fast food restaurants two or three times a week[ii].

Another McDonalds in China.   Photo Credit: Asian Correspondent.

Another McDonalds in China.
Photo Credit: Asian Correspondent.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health decided to find out the health cost associated with this change in diet and collaborated with public health experts at National University of Singapore.  Over 60,000 Chinese Singaporeans were interviewed about their health and eating habits [ii].  What they found was not only surprising to many in the public health community but a real cause of concern for modernized Asian countries.

Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiac Deaths for Fast Food Lovers

Study participants who ate more than two times a week at fast food joints like Burger King or Quiznos were more likely to die of heart disease and develop Type-2 diabetes.  These results were evident after researchers controlled for other factors such as gender, educational level and weight.  Interestingly, Chinese Singaporeans who ate traditional Singaporean meals, like stir-fried vegetables or steamed dumplings, were not at risk for acquiring these diseases.

Popular Asian Dishes. Unknown source.

Popular Asian Dishes. Unknown source.

The results of this study along with other similar research findings convinced public health, medical and nutrition experts that good health is connected to maintaining cultural traditions, especially rituals that involve cooking food in simple unprocessed ways.

The Asian Diet Pyramid

Emphasizing traditional food staples such as rice, noodles, legumes, vegetables and fruits, along with some red meat, fish and poultry, the Asian Diet Pyramid was developed by Oldways Preservation Trust to encourage healthy eating in the Asian American community.    Oldways organization is guided by a simple premise that good health can be found through heritage [iii].

Oldways Heritage Pyramid developed by Oldways Preservation Trust,conjunction with the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health and Environment, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Oldways Heritage Pyramid developed by Oldways Preservation Trust,conjunction with the Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health and Environment, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

A new generation of Asian Americans has heeded the call for returning to a more traditional diet used by their grandparents.  Young Asian Americans activists like Aileen Suzara, a Filipino American educator, environmental justice advocate and a natural chef, uses traditional Filipino food and recipes to understand and connect to her Filipino American culture and community (learn more about her here).

As more Asian countries modernize and look towards the U.S. as an example of western living, it has become evident that America’s obesity epidemic will also be exported along with the super-sized burgers, shakes and fries.  Asian Americans in the U.S. can look beyond this pattern of ordering food-to-go or eating meals outside the home and look within their own culture to find meaningful ways of achieving optimal health and wellbeing.

[i] Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, www.eatright.org.

[ii] Western-Style Fast Food Intake and Cardio-Metabolic Risk in an Eastern Country. Andrew O. Odegaard, Woon Puay Koh, Jian-Min Yuan, Myron D. Gross, and Mark A. Pereira. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/05/31/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.084004.full.pdf

[iii] Asian Diet Pyramid. Oldways Heritage Through Health. www.oldwayspt.org.