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.

http://minneapolismn.gov/health/living/eating/community-gardens

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)
Images belong to rightful owner

 

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!
https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm199058.htm
https://www.cdc.gov/family/checkup/

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.

Marinating

  • 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
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.

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

 

FOOD SAFE INTERNAL TEMPERATURE *
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

http://www.health.state.mn.us/foodsafety/index.html

 

 

Information received from the Minnesota Health Department. To view the PDF, click on the link provided below.
http://www.health.state.mn.us/foodsafety/cook/grill.pdf

Trends in Obesity Among Early Age Children

CDC

Obesity is a present health concern in the US and it’s important that it is continued to be discussed about. In order to prevent and decrease obesity rates in the US, there have been many attempts and programs to help people better understand what causes obesity, how to prevent it, and the ways we can educate people on it.

Some quick facts from a research conducted by CDC:

“Childhood obesity is associated with negative health consequences in childhood (1) that continue into adulthood (2), putting adults at risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers (1). Obesity disproportionately affects children from low-income families (3).

Overall obesity prevalence increased from 14.0% in 2000 to 15.5% in 2004 and 15.9% in 2010, and then decreased to 14.5% in 2014. During 2010–2014, the prevalence of obesity decreased significantly overall, among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, American Indian/Alaska Natives and Asians/Pacific Islanders, and among 34 (61%) of the 56 WIC state agencies in states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.” – CDC

Who is generally at risk for obesity:

  • Low-income families
  • Young mothers
  • People without access to healthy food/alternative food options

What can we do to prevent obesity?

  • Spread the knowledge of obesity among friends, families, peers, co-workers, etc. through various use of communications and social media platforms
  • Encourage people to live a active, balance, and healthier lifestyle by:
    • Encouraging healthy habits
    • Participating in activities outside of home/schools/work environment
    • Buying produces at local markets/groceries or partaking in a community garden or growing your own produces
    • Using other methods of transportation such as walking, biking, skating, etc.

Find recommended resources for minorities here.

Community Efforts Towards Healthier Living

“Community efforts across the country are improving the health of more people by working with groups that include public health professionals, hospitals, local community members, and more.

By Nolan Ly

A lack of access to healthy living opportunities in communities can affect obesity and other preventable chronic diseases. Learn more about community efforts to support healthy eating and active living: http://bit.ly/2knQTvl” – https://www.cdc.gov/

What are the benefits to a active community?

  • Reduce pollution and trash to the environment
  • Provide social and economic opportunities for the people of the community to collaborate and develop better relationships
  • Support social cohesion, events, and activities

What can you do to take part:

  • Going out to explore and enjoy the community by walking, biking, via other outdoor activities etc., either with yourself, friends, or family members.
  • Volunteering at a community garden to help grow veggies/fruits for the community and learning more about gardening along the way.
  • Educate your family, friends, and yourself on recycling, the benefits to it, and how it’s a little step towards making the Earth cleaner.
  • Volunteer for local parks and recreation centers to support and spread awareness for environmental concerns.

Tips for this Holiday!

healthy-holidays
1) Keep the focus on fun, not food. Indulge in only the most special holiday treats.  For example in the Chinese new year eve dinner, the dumpling is the most special dish, and when families prepare the dumplings, they will hind the couple coins in the dumplings, who gets to bite on the coins, who will have the best luck at coming year.  It’s fun to eat the dumplings to find the coins, but keep in mind not overdoing it.
2) Staying physically active during the holidays.  A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year.  The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight.
3) Toast the new year with just one glass of bubbly.
Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; it also contain a lot of calories – 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 170 calories in a pint of stout beer. What’s more, alcohol breaks down your inhibitions and judgment, which makes you that much less likely to resist the junk foods that you would otherwise be able to pass by.
4) Shop wisely this season. It’s easy to be tempted to buy things that you don’t need that are on “sale” and “clearance”. Best thing you can do to prevent this from happening is:
  • Set a budget to limit your spending on gifts.
  • Make a list of all the people you are going to buy gifts for and the things you plan on buying.
  • Differentiate wants from needs. “I want this, but do I need it?”
  • Use coupons when applicable. There are coupons available through online websites, in your mails, and in stores.

World Food Day – Oct 16, 2016

World Food Day is a day of action against hunger. On October 16, people around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime. Because when it comes to hunger, the only acceptable number in the world is zero.” – http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/

What can you to take part of this event?

  • Donate food at your local food shelf. Or perhaps a start a food drive yourself!
  • Volunteer at your local organization (food bank, food self, community center) that may offer food donation to the local community.
  • The theme this year is changing climate. We want to educate people on how our farmers/fishers are being impacted by the climate change on a global scale. In order to feed the growing population, we need to find better ways to produce food on a smaller scale and using eco-friendly alternative. “This is why our global message for World Food Day 2016 is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.” – http://www.fao.org/ 

Look down below for statistics on hunger:

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Accredited to worldfooddayusa

Are Instant Noodles Bad For Your Health?

“According to the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA), 52 countries consumed 97.7 billion servings last year alone. Among its highest consumers are China and Hong Kong, which together consumed 40.43 billion servings, followed by Indonesia, with 13.20 billion servings consumed. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. is not too far behind with 4 billion instant noodles consumed in 2015.” – http://nextshark.com/

So what are instant noodles? They are noodles that have been deep fried and packaged along with other seasoning packets. With just boiling water, you make a quick meal. It’s delicious of course and very cheap.

instant-noodles

www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/

Instant noodles have the reputation of being convenient, affordable, delicious, and unhealthy. Although it is loved by people throughout the world, it can be bad for your health if consume daily. Here are some reasons why:

  • The amount of sodium in a instant noodle pack is a lot more than what you should consume in a meal. Ingesting too much salt can lead one to experience dehydration, damaging the kidneys, and other parts of your body.
  • Instant noodles does not offer nutritional value to your body. Most of it is carbs, sodium, and saturated fat.

Like any other junk and fast food, you should consume instant noodles in moderation. You can always add more water to the broth and other veggies to make it a more balance meal. But don’t try to replace your diet with instant noodles and remember to cook your own meals as much as possible.

Laotian Cuisine

Laotian cuisine is a combination of fresh herbs, mixed spices, and strong flavors. It has influences from all kinds of Asian cultures, but the main influences are from the surrounding Southeast countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and more. Laotian cuisine is focused on using fresh ingredients and using them in many different ways (such as making a lemon grass broth to a coconut based curry). Listed down below are some highlights from the Laotian cuisine that you should try out!

Papaya salad (Lao style)

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Yelp

A papaya salad is made from the fruit papaya where its combined with a blend of spicy, salty, and semi-sweet flavors. There are two different version of the papaya salad, Lao and Thai style. It can vary in texture and some ingredients. But the distinctive flavor of the Lao style is the padek (fermented fish/brown sauce) which isn’t commonly found in the Thai style. The common recipe includes shredded (unripe) papaya, Thai chilies, fish sauce, lime, red cherry tomatoes, and garlic. Recipe is linked here!

Larb

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3hungrytummies.blogspot.com

This dish contains herbs and spices that can be mixed with a variety of meat (usually beef or chicken is used). People usually eat this with sticky rice, lettuce, or cabbage. It can make up for a good snack or an entire meal. It’s distinct freshness comes from the basil and mint. It is also mixed with peppers, green onions, cilantros, garlic, lime juice, and more. Check out the recipe here!

Khao Pun

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http://www.therestoflhistoire.com/

A noodle dish with a coconut based curry (usually combined with a chicken broth) and is made with vermicelli noodles. There are many variations to this dish as one can customize theingredients to their preferences. A highlight are the fresh ingredients such as banana flower, bean sprouts, basil,  green onions, bamboo shoots, and cilantros. The flavors are customized by using fish sauce, salt, and the broth itself. Check out the recipe here!

Sticky Rice

cooking-sticky-rice-2

tesathome.com

The texture of sticky rice is different from other rice because it has a different texture and it sticks together much more compare to other rices. It can be eaten as it is with other dishes or as a desert by serving it with mango and coconut cream. Recipe!

Lao Sausage

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asiagreentourism.org

Known for its red color and spicy flavors, the Lao sausage is different from other sausages. You would have to taste it for yourself because it has a unique taste. It can be fried, steamed, and grilled. It is made with minced pork, shallots, peppers, garlic, lemongrass, and more! Check out the full recipe here!

National Nutrition Month & Food Trends!

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Original artwork belongs to www.storybird.com

Wondering what to eat next? Or maybe you want to try out the current food trends? This year has kicked off with food trends that demanded healthier food options and about eating local. You’ll never know what the area around you has to offer so take a look! Listed down below are some tips for you to try out!

  • Eating local has always been a thing, but it’s even bigger in the recent years! It means that you go out there and explore the food scene in your local areas. You may find restaurants that serve dishes that you had not tried before. Minnesota has some of the best areas for foodies to eat such as on Nicollet street, Downtown Minneapolis, central St. Paul, and more. A wide variety of foods await from Vietnamese cuisine to well-known steakhouses to authentic Mexican food.
  • Going green is healthier! The emphasize on healthy food is tremendous this year with a focus on vegetable juicing, detoxing with fruit infused water, eating grass fed animal products, and such! Organic and eating more greens is something that you should try to do more often!
  • Reduction in processed and unhealthy food! People everywhere are trying to eat healthier and it is clear of what foods people are avoiding. Foods that are high in salt, saturated fat, and sugar are some major “NO” you should try to avoid. Foods like chips, pop, fast foods, and such. Of course, it is okay to indulge once in a while.
  • Bring on the vegetable side dishes! Vegetables are eaten more often when served as side dishes and not as a dish itself. It will encourage you and possible any kids around you to eat it! Serve side dishes of vegetables stir fried or mix with other veggies as a light salad.
  • March is also known as National Nutrition Month! It serves to promote healthy living through making better food choices. Become part of group and spread the message of positivity of healthy eating. Check out this link on you can get involved!