Do You Know Where to Find Your Next Meal?

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By Doris Vallejo-Aguilar, UT Intern, Spring 2017

Most of us assume that food is just around the corner at our closest grocery store. Food security is something we can easily take for granted. We have access to food and it is available to us at all times. It helps us keep a healthy life too. There are people who do not know where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity happens when people do not have food available or access to food. We need to look at who this affects the most to find relief.

Image source: http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/child-hunger/

There are many people affected by food insecurity but the Latino population is more likely to suffer from food insecurity. Why?

According to Feeding America, the Latino population is disproportionally measured when it comes to poverty and food insecurity. This may be due to the fast growing rate of Latinos in the United States. Sometimes, the Latino population does not get support from federal nutrition programs. It is hard to find support anywhere else if Latinos do not have support from the government. Latinos are more likely to get sick from what they eat. If Latinos are suffering from food insecurity, they may have no choice but to eat foods that are not as healthy.

A study from the University of Texas looked at food insecurity in the City of Austin. The focus areas were neighborhoods east of I-35. These neighborhoods are mainly populated by minority groups like Latinos. The study found the less access to full-service grocery stores, the more food-insecure homes. A full service grocery store has fresh fruits and vegetables, a meat department, and fresh dairy products. We can see that Latinos in these areas might not have access to affordable and healthy food.

The following is a list of food pantries in Austin that you can check out:

Central Texas Food Bank www.centraltexasfoodbank.org

Caritas of Austin http://www.caritasofaustin.org/programs-and-services/food

Manos De Cristo http://www.manosdecristo.org  

Hope Food Pantry Austin http://hopefoodpantryaustin.org/

Salvation Army www.salvationarmyaustin.org

The bad news is Latinos are still suffering from food insecurity. The good news is there are places in Austin where you can get help. Donate, volunteer, or get help from your closest food pantry. We are all looking out for you!

Make Healthy Shifts in Food Choices

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Author: Danielle Hammond-Krueger, MPH, RD

Celebrate March by “Putting Your Best Fork Forward”, as the theme for National Nutrition Month®.  “According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Making changes to eating patterns can take time.  Every food choice is an opportunity to move toward a healthy eating pattern, no matter how small the shifts, “said Danielle Krueger a Registered Dietitian with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  “Put your best fork forward” by following these steps to make healthy shifts in food choices:

Choose more vegetables from all subgroups.  When making dishes or snacks, add more vegetables to the dish in place of foods high in saturated fat and/or sodium.

Add low-fat or fat-free dairy to your snacks or dishes.  When making foods which traditionally call for mayonnaise or prepared salad dressing, try replacing with low-fat or fat-free yogurts.

Substitute whole fruit for fruit products with added sugars.  Choose more whole fruits as snacks, in a salad, or in place of desserts with added sugars such as ice cream, cakes, and pies.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offers nutrition education programs which help inform consumers about how to make healthy shifts in food choices and reduce the risk for chronic disease. To learn more about our nutrition and health programs such as Better Living for Texans, Expanded Food and Nutrition Program, Dinner Tonight, Walk Across Texas, and Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes, contact your local County Extension Agent.

National Nutrition Month® is an annual promotion through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Visit the Academy at eatright.org.

Dealing with Drought in the Landscape Series

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Time: 10:00am . Admission: $15.00. Age restrictions: Buy Tickets. Box office: 979-845-2604. Address: 6011 Blue Bluff Rd. Feeling adventurous? Explore alternate methods of gardening during the final class in our Dealing with Drought Conditions series. If you have time, space, or physical limitations yet still have a desire to nurture your green thumb, Master Gardener Pat Mokry will teach you how to raise carefree veggies, herbs and flowers using self-sufficient grow boxes. Then, for some more ‘new’ ideas, Master Gardener Marian Stassney will describe the ancient practices of both keyhole gardening and hugelkultur, to expand your repertoire of gardening techniques. IMPORTANT: Due to road construction in front of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 1600-B Smith Road, all seminars normally held at Extension will be temporarily moved to our classroom at 6011 Blue Bluff Rd, 78724 for further information, please call (512) 854-9600