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.


Health Topic of the Day: Breastfeeding



Today’s health topic is all about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is usually defined as a mother providing her infant with food/milk from her breast. It was commonly practiced in the past (nowadays it is more prominent poor/rural areas) in when mothers had to provide for their babies with their own milk and the availability of baby formula or food was not as common. The practice of breastfeeding gradually faded in human society as it advanced. But recent studies showed that we should get back to breastfeeding as it was proven to be more nutritious and beneficial to both the mother and child.

What are the benefits of breast feeding?

  • Breastmilk has all the nutritions and antibodies passed from the mother to the infant which can contribute to the baby’s overall health and growth
  • Builds a bond between the mother and child
  • Breastmilk is easy for the baby to digest
  • Mothers can choose on how long they want to breastfeed
  • Breastfeeding can help reduce cost for baby formula/food for a period of time
  • For more info on the benefits of breastfeeding, click here!

According to CDC:

  • 4 out of 5 (81.1%) started to breastfeed. High breastfeeding initiation rates, or the percentage of infants who start out breastfeeding, show that most mothers in the U.S. want to breastfeed and are trying to do so.
  • In Minnesota :
    • Breastfeeding rate at 12 months increased from 35.8% to 41.0%, a total of 15% increase.
    • Exclusive breastfeeding at three months went from 48.6 to 53.9 percent, an 11-percent increase.

“These rates make Minnesota a top breastfeeding state in the nation, ranking seventh for beginning breastfeeding (initiation) and fifth for breastfeeding at six months.

Though the percentage of women initiating breastfeeding in the Minnesota WIC Program has risen from 63 percent to 80 percent since 2001, some women face more barriers to breastfeeding and are initiating at lower rates. Minnesota breastfeeding rates vary significantly by race and ethnicity. MDH and partners promote public health strategies that make it easier for all Minnesota women to breastfeed. This work includes supporting peer counseling and breastfeeding friendly policies and practices in hospitals, workplaces, childcare settings and the community.” – http://www.health.state.mn.us/


The Benefits of Walking


One of the easiest and effective way to stay active is to walk. Going on daily walks or walking more often can help your body stay healthy. Oppose to not walking at all, even a little exercise can help you maintain an active lifestyle. Here are some health benefits to walking and ways you can walk more:

  • Incorporate stretches, warm ups, and different exercise activities. It can help you walk longer and better. As a bonus, it’ll help you burn more calories. It would effectively help you out even more if you can have a routine.
  • During your breaks at work or free time, instead of sitting down take a stroll. It is a good change for your mind and body as you are required to move. It can help improve your mood, blood circulation, maintain blood pressures, and more. Many jobs require people to sit 8 hours all day and it doesn’t do the body any good. Humans weren’t made to sit all day so it’s good to do little exercise there and here.
  • Walking can help maintain your weight and even help you lose weight. Although walking is not intensive, you can lose weight by walking longer. The faster you walk or run, the more calories you lose. Also, since it helps your body become more active you will decrease the chance of developing obesity, osteoporosis, and lower the risk of plausible diseases, and diabetes.
  • “Among 44,452 male health professionals, walking at least 30 minutes a day was linked to an 18% lower risk of coronary artery disease.” – http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Walking-Your-steps-to-health
  • If you can walk there, do it! If you are going somewhere nearby, instead of taking a vechicle there it would be better for you to walk there. Although it can be boring, bring your music or whatever it is to entertain you along the way. Just make sure to pay attention to where you’re heading.
  • Wear comfortable shoes! If you know you are going to walk for a long period of time or you need special shoes to help you walk then be prepared! The chance of you walking in an uncomfortable shoes all day isn’t the best situation to be in. It can cause your feet to develop rashes, sores, and more.
  • Do it with a friend or a pet! It is more fun to walk with a partner so if you have someone to do it with, that’s even better. They can serve to motivate you to walk more often and longer.

White Rice or Brown Rice?



There are many articles that debates whether it is healthier to eat white rice or brown rice. It is a controversial topic as many people do share different opinions about their risks and benefits. But at the end of the day, it really just depends on the individual. Here are some important points that you should know because not exactly one is worse than the other.

1. If you have been eating white or brown rice since young and on a daily basis, it won’t cause a dramatic difference in your health. Compare this situation as opposed to those who just or recently started consuming rice on a daily basis. Their bodies may not be showing great responses, but it doesn’t mean that rice is bad for everyone. It could be how their bodies process rice differently (which may cause weight gain/loss, etc.) or the brand of the rice that they’re consuming. So don’t assume that just because eating rice isn’t well for others, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad food.

2. Many other cultures rely on different based carbs (besides rice) like wheat, oatmeal, grains, and more. They come in many varieties as breads, noodles, bagels, pasta, and more. So if you want to cut out rice completely from your diet, there are other available options for you to choose from.

3. Brown rice is really not that much ‘better’ than white rice in terms of fiber and health benefits as the media like to say. When brown rice is produced, the outermost layer is the only layer removed which still leaves some of its nutrients and fiber behind. It is an healthier alternative to white rice since white rice are basically stripped of everything besides the starchy component. But don’t rely on brown rice as source of fiber because “each cup of brown rice contains only 3.5 grams of fiber for every 45 grams of complex carbohydrates.This means you would have to eat FIVE cups of brown rice (225 grams of extra carbs) just to get HALF of your daily fiber intake”. – http://4cyclefatloss.com

Instead, try to consume more vegetables and fruits daily. They contain more fiber without you eating too much calories. The best part is that you can put them into many different kinds of foods and dishes such as stir fry, salads, side dishes, spices, and more.

4. It’s not about what you eat only, but what you do to stay active. Just by switching out one type of food out isn’t going to help you lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sure, it’s okay to eat better and you may even see results. But it has been provender by people and data that exercise and diet really does go hand in hand together. When you are consistent and doing both at the same time, you are bound to be more healthier than just doing one.

5. Just mix both! If you really can’t decide between the two and don’t want to give up either, eating them together solves it easily. Mix rice is another great alternative for people to try because it can help the body adapt to the different types of rice better. Suddenly switching out one kind of rice to another won’t let your body have the time to process the rice and it can cause a negative reaction.