Food and Nutrition
Food and nutrition are an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Often, when we talk about programming in these areas, we think about first educating people on what they choose to eat. That is really important; however, Healthy Chesapeake, Inc. thinks it is just as important to focus on our food environments, policies and systems to make the healthy eating choice …the easy choice …for everyone! That means that instead of just focusing on education of individuals, we also work with organizations and larger systems within our community to make it easier for people to eat healthy.
Healthy Chesapeake, Inc. focuses on expanding access & usage of healthy foods – such as improving access to fresh and healthy foods, addressing food deserts and food insecurity and improving policies related to increasing the availability of healthy food offered in retail and community settings. The reason this is so important is that research tells us that people are less healthy when they don’t have access to fresh, healthy, affordable food. If we want healthier people with less obesity, diabetes and heart disease, a good step is to support them in making healthy food choices!
Food deserts are areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lowfat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet. We have some areas in Chesapeake that are food deserts. You may live in a food desert if you live far away from a full service grocery store and do not have easy access to transportation.
Healthy food policies help make it easier for people to have healthy food choices. Food policies can focus on everything from what foods your church may offer to what your children are offered to eat at school. Food policy may direct how an organization purchases food, what they offer or even how it is priced. For instance, one approach to healthy food policy is to price healthier options in a vending machine lower than unhealthier options. There are many ways food policies can help communities without being restrictive. Food policies help ensure there are healthy options for people with a variety of medical and health needs in our community. Food policies also help to increase the amount of healthy food that people in our community may be able to access.
Healthy food policies also help shape our food environment. This is a really important part of people being able to make good decisions about what to eat and has to do with such factors as cost, food alternatives, and even product placement.
Where can I find Healthy Eating Programs?
Part of being healthy is to make good food choices and to have both the knowledge to make the choices and the ease and affordable access to healthy foods to make it possible. Healthy Chesapeake, Inc. is planning to make a variety of programs available to the public where they live, learn, play, work and worship to both educate our Chesapeake friends and improve policies and environments to make it easy for them to put that education to good use in making healthy eating choices. More information on these programs and resources will be posted as we develop these programs and finalize our Community Health Improvement Plan.
Where can I find trustworthy information about healthy eating?
It can be confusing to find good information. There are many eating fads and diets that are in the popular media. Healthy Chesapeake, Inc. only promotes what science tells us is proven to work in helping people to eat healthy. Additionally, we only promote healthy ways of eating – no fad diets here – we want you to make healthy lifestyle changes you can keep up over time. A balanced diet with many foods from our food groups, especially fruits and vegetables, is a good way to eat healthy. A good tip is to make sure that your plate is colorful.
Below are some links to trustworthy information on healthy eating. These links include everything from recipes to basic healthy eating information. Eating on a budget? That’s there, too! Need quick tips? You’ll find tips on eating out, eating for the holidays and how to eat for a healthy weight. If you can’t find what you are looking for please contact us and someone will help you find information you can trust.