Fit & Fresh by Comfort Food Community is a hands-on cooking and physical activity program that aims to support participants in making healthy lifestyle changes. Throughout the 8-week course, participants are educated on an array of nutrition and fitness topics based on the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Lessons cover topics such as the MyPlate food groups, meal planning and grocery shopping on a budget, reading a nutrition facts label, and overcoming barriers to physical activity. The recipes used in class are plant-forward and easy to prepare using affordable ingredients readily available at CFC’s Food Pantries. In addition to the eight classes, participants received a free year-long YMCA membership and 4 individual sessions with a YMCA trainer to work on their personal fitness goals.
Fit & Fresh aims to provide participants with the knowledge and tools they need to make achieving a healthy lifestyle more attainable and less intimidating. Program participant, Melissa, comments-
"I enjoyed learning better cooking skills and finding out that I can still eat most foods just by using healthier substitutes." For participants, learning tricks and tips on how to make meal planning more manageable gave them the confidence needed to implement these skills in their daily lives. Participant, Kristina, says- "I enjoyed learning more about MyPlate, the food groups, and how to make healthier choices when planning meals. It was fun to learn some healthier recipes and various new ways to use healthier ingredients."
CFC’s Community Health Worker, Dana Kuster, lead the development, management, and instruction of Fit & Fresh. She shares that her favorite recipe was personal pizzas with homemade whole wheat pizza dough, using vegetable toppings from CFC’s Food Center. Other popular recipes included black bean brownies, kale and broccoli salad, and pumpkin mac 'n cheese with collard greens.
“I had a great time planning and facilitating the program. I really enjoyed getting to know the participants and I appreciate their willingness to bear with me and provide feedback as I learned and adjusted along the way. The most rewarding part was seeing the participants enjoy a meal they had made when they had been initially skeptical about some of the ingredients. Currently, I am reviewing the program and planning for the next cohort which will be starting in November.”-Dana Kuster, Program Instructor.
Comfort Food Community would like to extend their appreciation to the YMCA Battenkill Branch for their participation in making Fit & Fresh a great success.
Fit & Fresh was made possible largely in thanks to grant funding received from The Hortense and Louis Rubin Community Health Fund of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. Their generous support allows Comfort Food Community to have a greater community impact by expanding CFC’s offering of programs and resources.
To learn more about The Hortense and Louis Rubin Community Health Fund of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region please visit: https://www.cfgcr.org/rubin-community-health-fund/