FeedMore WNY works to improve heart health in community

February is American Heart Month – a time to raise awareness about the risks of heart disease and take steps to prevent it. At FeedMore WNY, a team of nutritionists and registered dieticians prioritize heart health all year long.

FeedMore WNY’s nutritionists and RDs provide education and encourage healthy habits for community members of all ages through workshops, cooking classes and outreach events.

Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables, one of FeedMore WNY’s nutrition education programs, empowers participants to try new recipes, learn new cooking skills and adopt healthy eating habits.

“FeedMore WNY’s Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables program focuses on the celebration and enjoyment of food. JSY nutritionists help community members enjoy delicious and nutritious foods that satisfy taste buds and support heart health,” Community Nutrition Educator Arielle Januszkiewicz said.

In addition to offering nutrition education, FeedMore WNY also incorporates heart healthy foods in the menus for its prepared meals program. Registered Dieticians also provide one-on-one nutrition counseling to our home-delivered meal clients to help them lower their risk of heart disease.

“As we get older, the risk factors for heart disease and high blood pressure increase,” Client Nutrition Services Assistant Director Jen Klein said. “However, there are simple diet and lifestyle changes we can make to keep our hearts healthy and strong.”

A great foundation for heart health is to have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, Januszkiewicz added.

“One of the easiest ways to ensure people eat their vegetables is to make them taste good! Many people find they enjoy vegetables after swapping boiling for steaming or roasting to maintain their natural flavor and texture,” Januszkiewicz said.

Since eating is a full sensory experience, Januszkiewicz recommended roasting or steaming a variety of colorful vegetables.

“It is important to remember the old adage: ‘you eat with your eyes first!’” she said.

More Heart Healthy Tips Include:

Reduce your sodium intake. Avoid processed foods. Substitute herbs, spices and citrus juices in place of salt to spice up your dishes.

Choose heart-healthy fats. Eat unsaturated fats, such as fish, unsalted nuts and unsalted seed. Consider your toppings – low-fat plain Greek yogurt is a tangy and delicious substitute for sour cream!

Say yes to fiber. Fiber found in plant-based food helps to lower unhealthy cholesterol levels. Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, oranges and oats are some of the yummy foods rich in fiber.

Move your body! 30 minutes of exercise per day is recommended. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program!

FeedMore WNY Community Nutrition Educator Arielle Januszkiewicz teaches a Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables workshop to students of the RISE workforce development program.

FeedMore WNY Client Nutrition Services Assistant Director Jen Klein monitors the temperature and production of prepared meals in FeedMore WNY’s commissary.