Nutrition Education | Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies

April 28, 2017

The day you find out you or your partner is pregnant is one of the true joys in life. It can also be a time of great stress, especially for first-time moms.   There are new health and nutrition issues to think about, not to mention big changes to your body and your lifestyle.

Fortunately, the Food Bank is here to help!  This year our Nutrition Education Team launched its first-ever Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies Program.  It’s aimed at helping new mothers and their children be healthy and well nourished.  We are pleased to share the important nutrition tips that they are teaching moms.

When assembling a menu, pregnant women should look for “The Mighty Four”:

  1. Protein: found in lean meats, poultry and eggs, beans, seeds, nuts and nut butters, and tofu. Protein gives moms and babies the power to grow muscles and tissue, essential parts of a baby’s development
  2. Calcium: found in dairy, dark leafy greens, fish, and fortified cereals and beverages. Calcium keeps teeth and bones strong. If mothers do not get enough calcium during pregnancy, the developing baby uses calcium from the mother, making her bones weaker, which can lead to osteoporosis.
  3. Iron: found in dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, beans, and lean red meats. Iron helps create red blood cells, which are essential during pregnancy due to increased blood volume.
  4. Folic Acid: found in beans and legumes, dark greens, citrus, and nuts. Folic Acid is important for neural tube development, which later becomes the baby’s spinal cord.

“Good nutrition is essential during pregnancy, especially in the very first months,” said Nalleli Martinez, Senior Nutrition Education Coordinator for the Food Bank.  “Our hope is to provide tips and resources that will help moms and caregivers more easily make healthy food choices during and after pregnancy.”

Want nutrition tips for the whole family (whether you are expecting or not)?  Check out the Nutrition Education page here or sign up for our monthly newsletter here.

Nutrition Education: Six Tips for Shopping on a Budget

November 29, 2016

by Nalleli Martinez, Senior Nutrition Education Coordinator

At the Food Bank, our work doesn’t end once food is delivered to our pantries. Our Nutrition Education Team provides recipients with tips and tools for how to best use Food Bank ingredients to prepare healthy and filling meals. And, we strive to offer information in a culturally relevant way so that participants can find ease and comfort in connecting to the nutrition messages that we share.

In our “Shopping on a Budget” class, one topic that brings a smile to everyone’s face starts with the question, “Who could use a little extra money in their pockets?” The answer is almost always a unanimous chorus of agreement.

For most people, groceries are the second largest monthly expense after housing.
The good news is that people who use a food spending plan and shop carefully can cut their food costs by 20%. Yes, you read that correctly, 20%!

Here are six tips to help you save on groceries:

  1. Set a budget; it can be daily, weekly, or monthly.
  2. Make a shopping list, which will help you stick to purchasing only what you need.
  3. Freeze and store produce as space allows for later use in smoothies, stir-fries, soups, stews and much more.
  4. Don’t shop while hungry!
  5. Shop during sales. Find out when sales happen at your local markets or grocery stores. Typically, sales begin on Wednesdays.
  6. Visit your neighborhood food pantry. We’re here to help! If you are struggling to make ends meet, our food pantries in San Francisco and Marin can provide staple foods and produce to supplement your grocery purchases. Learn more here.

Our goal in Nutrition Education is to provide resources and information that everyone can use to improve their quality of life. In addition to the tips above, our workshops cover the “ins and outs” of navigating grocery stores and markets to facilitate healthy, cost-consciuous choices. What I love about these techniques is that they apply to everyone and anyone who steps into a grocery store, ready to brave the many aisles, shelves, and brands of food.

Want to get more tips like these? Sign up for our monthly eNews updates.