by SHANICE BIBBS
DINNER TIME BUT NO TIME TO COOK
Roosevelt is a multicultural, suburban community that from a distance resembles the urban neighborhoods of bigger cities. While the tasks on our to-do lists are increasing, it appears the time at our disposal to complete them is decreasing. Whether on the go, busy working, or utterly too exhausted, frequently, at the end of a long day, the last thing people want to do is cook a home-cooked meal. Fortunately, there is an array of eateries, delis, fast food chains, and restaurants offering quick, tasty, and inexpensive options to satisfy every country, craving, and culture. Everything in life, especially convenience, comes at a price.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF NASSAU COUNTY… EXCEPT ROOSEVELT
As children, a healthy diet contributes to mental alertness, learning, a robust immune system, and our overall health as adults. In a recent study, the U.S. Surgeon General office reported that 34% of adolescents living in the United States ages 12 – 19 years old classified as overweight or obese. In New York State, the rate is 33%; in Nassau County, its only 31.4%! Unfortunately, when analyzing the county rate at the local level, Roosevelt far exceeds both the state and national average at 40%.
WELCOME TO THE HUNGER GAMES: NUTRITION EDITION. MAY THE ODDS BE IN YOUR…FLAVOR
Choice For All is on a mission to lower the local overweight and obesity rate. Several initiatives have been implemented to provide solutions to two common contributing factors: the shortage of healthy food options and lack of health and nutrition-related knowledge. Choice for All increased the availability of healthier food options with the launch of the Healthy Corner Store Network (HCSN) and by operating a weekly youth-run farmers’ market. Educating members of the community most at risk proved to be a little more complicated.
Choice for All Community Wellness Coordinators (CWCs) launched "The Hunger Games: Nutrition Edition" at Roosevelt High School to educate teens on eating healthy and make other healthy lifestyle choices. Each week, students learned about nutrition and healthy eating by competing against each other in rounds of Jeopardy, Family Feud, and Jenga. The interactive games covered topics relating to nutrition, diet, chronic illness prevention, and lifestyle choices that promote healthy living.
Choice for All's CWCs celebrated the program’s end with green juice smoothies and lunch donated by a vegetarian restaurant “Rich in Health 516” located at 294 Greenwich Street, Hempstead). Using the knowledge acquired throughout the program, participants engaged in a roundtable discussion about the role the snacks, green juice, and vegetarian meal play in a healthy diet. The success of the first Hunger Games: Nutrition Edition was reflected by the students’ ability to discuss nutrition and diet with confidence, piqued interest in healthy eating, and the desire to discover other local vegetarian eateries. Clearly, the odds were indeed in their flavor.
GOOD HABITS START AT HOME
Choice for All is in the process of making arrangements to return to Roosevelt High School in the upcoming school year; the Community Health Navigators have begun planning the next chapter of The Hunger Games: Nutrition Edition. It is important to remember, however, that good habits, including healthy eating, start at home. Let’s ALL work together to give our children a head-start in life by limiting our consumption of frozen, pre-cooked, and over-processed meals.