Healthy eating workshops set

GLOVERSVILLE — The dark days of achieving healthy eating through a bland diet have passed, but for area residents still struggling to cultivate a balanced daily diet of affordable healthy foods they enjoy, registered dietitian and nutrition educator for the Seniors’ Health Improvement and Nutrition Education Program Molly Capito will hold the first in a series of four workshops at the Gloversville Public Library on Friday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

SHINE is a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that promotes nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions for older adults. Capito explained that the state Office for the Aging began piloting the SHINE program in four regions in 2018. Capito works out of the Montgomery County Office for the Aging providing the program to residents in Fulton, Montgomery and Herkimer counties.

“The program allows older adults to learn the latest dietary recommendations. Based on research, we are able to provide those older adults with a refresher about those reasons behind why you should eat healthy,” Capito said. “The goal overall is to help seniors improve their health through healthy eating.”

Capito explained that the program was developed by SNAP based off of feedback that the senior population wasn’t being reached through existing offerings, but she said the community workshops are open to people of all ages with recommended guidelines and useful tips for anyone.

“It seems a lot of times senior think they don’t have to eat much, because they are not as active. But they might miss certain nutrients. Some other comments I’ve gotten from participants is this population had years and years of experience eating and preparing their own meals, so it’s good to have a refresher on what they should be doing later in life,” Capito said. “Overall, the recommendation is to eat a well balanced diet.”

The SHINE community workshops are broken into four sessions focusing on the topics of enjoying healthy food that tastes great, quick and healthy meals and snacks, eating healthy on a budget and making healthy eating part of your total lifestyle.

Information will cover subjects such as the United States Department of Agriculture’s latest eating pattern tool for a balanced diet called MyPlate that is essentially an updated version of the food pyramid, food additives, the difference between simple sugars and complex carbohydrates, ideas for physical activity, how to navigate healthy eating while dining out and proper portions.

“I talk about the basic ideas of how to make healthy eating simple, little things can make a big impact on eating habits that can impact your health,” Capito said. “Another key thing, because it is a SNAP education program, recommendations we give we want to make sure are things that are relatively affordable.”

For proof of concept, Capito includes taste testing demonstrations during each workshop allowing participants to try a healthy slow cooker recipe she prepares, sample salt free seasonings, compare name brand products to store brand alternatives and munch different whole grain products.

Capito also provides those in attendance with recipes for healthy dishes they can prepare at home, educational handouts with additional information and prizes.

While each workshop covers a specific topic, Capito said she is happy to answer questions from participants they might not typically have a chance to put to a registered dietitian, potentially incorporating larger subjects into workshop sessions, such as dietary modifications for people with diabetes.

The first in a series of four SHINE workshops on healthy eating will be held at the Gloversville Public Library located at 58 E. Fulton St. on Friday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. facilitated by Capito, a registered dietitian and nutrition educator.

Additional workshops in the series will be held March 22, April 5 and April 12 at the library from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Workshops are free to attend and open to the public.

Advanced registration is preferred to provide an accurate head count for samples and handouts. To register or learn more contact Capito at the Montgomery County Office for the Aging at (518) 843-2300.