I was fortunate enough to grow up in the same neighborhood with my maternal and paternal grandparents. They had gardens chock full of vegetables every year.
My parents, my aunts and uncles and other relatives also had gardens. So, our South Hall neighborhood was filled with lots of activity during the gardening season. They canned green beans, soup, squash and other foods. So, our meals included a variety of veggies throughout the year.
Over the years, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren helped in the garden and in the kitchen. I didn’t realize at the time how much time and money they were saving. And I didn’t realize how much those memories would mean to me one day.
Parents and grandparents, especially today, balance a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes there just isn’t time or space for a vegetable garden.
Despite those challenges or a busy schedule, good food can find its way to your plate. Families can still enjoy meals and snacks filled with the benefits of healthy food.
The University of Georgia Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Program is available to help parents. The free program’s “Food Talk” sessions offer fun, educational activities and is federally funded and conducted through the Cooperative Extension Service in every state and U.S. territory.
The recipe sampling creates an energetic learning environment for parents. Healthy meal and snack ideas also are provided. Plus, parents receive tips for stress-free mealtimes and stretching their food dollars.
Participants also receive a certificate and a special cookbook upon completing the six- lesson series. The “Food Talk” cookbook features a variety of main dish, dessert, snack and salad recipes. The pages include dishes such as peach crumble, chicken confetti salad and harvest muffins.
Why not consider “Food Talk” sessions for your parent support or outreach groups? It’s a great way to help parents start the new year fresh with more mealtime options and money-saving ideas.
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By the way, tips are still available through the UGA Extension “Zero Weight Gain Holiday Challenge.”
Find nutrition and fitness information on topics such as “Sneaking More Fruits and Vegetables into Your Diet” and “Exercise Partners Even at a Distance.”
Visit www.fcs.uga.edu/ext/Zero_Holiday_Challenge for more information.
Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the UGA Extension office in Hall County. Call her at 770-535-8290. Her column appears biweekly on Wednesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.