Laura Urban here, Nutrition Education Coordinator for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. As many of you already know, all throughout the month of September we’re raising awareness on the issue of hunger. Since this is the first (of many) blog posts from yours truly, I’ll take this as an opportunity to talk about how nutrition education aligns with our mission of ending hunger in our community. Never thought of the connection? Let me elaborate, cause this is one of my all-time favorite things to talk about (aside from my mad-love for some leafy greens, of course).
A while back, we realized that solving hunger requires other long-term solutions beyond emergency food. You’ve all heard the saying about teaching a man how to fish, right? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
The outcomes of Nutrition Education can have a chain reaction to so many other aspects of someone’s life. For example, our Smart Shopper classes teach parents on how to stretch their monthly SNAP dollars so they can buy more nutritious foods on a budget. We talk about how to create healthy, balanced meals and we reinforce the importance of being physically active every day. Smart Shopper also teaches parents how to introduce healthy, unfamiliar foods to their children so that they can get the nutrition they need during the most crucial time of their cognitive development. Our Food Smarts program creates awareness in our youth that supports their parents’ healthy efforts at home. Our Nutrition on Wheels (NOW) Program gets clients excited about living a healthy lifestyle while they’re waiting in line to get fresh produce. As a result of these programs, a client might have extra money in their pocket to pay for bills and other necessities. A client might not have to worry about taking off of work because of an illness or taking care of sick children. The possibilities are really endless, and ultimately, we will have contributed to building healthier families that are ready to take on their everyday responsibilities whether it’s to work, learn, or take care of their family.
The coolest thing about nutrition education is that you’re never just reaching one person. Even if we offer a Smart Shopper class for just two parents, we have the potential to have an impact on an entire family. Our programs teach skills that can be used throughout a lifetime, and I’ve experienced firsthand the impact that our programs have had on our clients (I’ll share some of my favorites in the posts to come).
So keep that in mind all throughout this month, and please, if you’re interested in being a part of our effort, volunteer! You won’t regret it. I might be a little biased, but our nutrition education team is pretty awesome, and we know how to have a good time.
Might I also suggest getting your orange on this month by mowing down on some orange delicacies? Oranges, beets, carrots, peppers, squash, peppers, sweet potato, mango, papaya: “Lettuce” raise awareness with our plates!
Laura Urban is the Nutrition Education Coordinator for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and has been with the organization since 2011. Laura is passionate about building healthy communities through nutrition education programs, spreading the good word about good food, and getting clients excited about fruits and vegetables. Have a healthy recipe to share or want to know more about our ever-growing, nutrition education programs? Reach out!