Tag Archives: nutrition

variety of healthy foods on wooden background

Healthy Food or Healthy Diet?

Sometimes our efforts to eat smart miss the forest for the trees. We spend a lot of time wondering if individual foods are healthy. But we don’t always pay the same attention to our overall diet pattern. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate have helped to shift the focus from nutrients and food groups to healthy eating patterns. This makes sense, because we eat meals, not just protein and Vitamin A or chicken breast or butternut squash. It also helps remind us that everything we eat or drink matters. And those choices day by day can impact our health over a lifetime. There are many ways to eat a healthy diet. Your own eating pattern reflects your taste, culture, traditions, and budget. So how can you shift your thinking from eating smart foods to eating a smart diet? Continue reading

nakesha moore

How FNP Helps Feed VA

In honor of Feed VA Day of Action, we’re highlighting Virginia Family Nutrition Program’s educators who take action every day as they empower Virginians to make good food choices, work to eliminate food deserts and strive to end hunger in our state.

Our Program Assistants, SNAP-Ed Agents and volunteers work with individuals and families by teaching them grocery shopping strategies, meal planning tips, cooking skills, food safety skills, and tips for maintaining active lifestyles. These are the folks who work in their communities, sharing their knowledge and giving people tools to make healthy choices for their families.

Are you interested in helping us in our mission? We are always looking for volunteers to work with our educators throughout Virginia. Take action to end hunger in your community. Contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office to learn about volunteer opportunities.


avoid holiday weight gain

Maintaining Your Weight During The Holidays

Most people associate the holiday season with gaining weight from the tasty food at parties and family celebrations, holiday party drinking, and less time and energy for exercise. Research has found that for most adults, this weight gain only adds up to one pound, not the 5 or more pounds commonly reported in the news. While only one pound sounds minor, most people don’t lose that extra pound. As we age, those extra pounds add up, leading to obesity over time. So one strategy for maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetime is to avoid gaining holiday weight, no matter how small just one pound seems. Continue reading

All About Sweet Potatoes!

February is National Sweet Potato Month. Sweet potatoes are in season in the fall, but can be stored through the winter. Sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors – white, orange, red, and even blue – but the deep orange type is the most popular. Continue reading

Matthew’s SNAP Challenge Day 1

Today’s post is part of a series written by a dietetic intern working with us over the past month. As part of their internship experiences, I like to have them do a SNAP Challenge to better understand the experiences of people trying to eat smart on a tight budget. ~Austin

This morning I was kind of tired after staying up late to work on projects. I am glad that I made overnight oatmeal for breakfast last night. I also had a cup of coffee at work. I was glad someone made a pot of coffee at the office because I needed it!


Overnight Oatmeal

Breakfast was surprisingly filling. About an hour before lunch I was getting hungry. For lunch, I ate rest of my overnight oatmeal from this morning, two celery stalks with peanut butter and an apple. It was healthy, but very light for a lunch.  lunch apple

A light lunch

Oatmeal, celery, peanut butter, and an apple.







My one regret for today was not doing more meal prep yesterday. I was hungry on my way home from work today because of my small lunch, but I had nothing ready to eat. So I went ahead and had some of my snacks – yogurt with mixed berries and an apple with peanut butter. I hope this doesn’t throw off my meal plan for this Challenge!


Yogurt with berries

Yogurt with mixed berries

Healthy snack

Apple with peanut butter







I decided to prep lunch and dinner for at least two days, so that I would not run into the same problem tomorrow. Having that snack was a good idea because I  did not get to eat my dinner until 9 pm. Dinner for that night was black beans, chicken, and rice, with Ratatouille and a glass of milk.

Dinner ratatouille, black bean chicken and  rice

Black beans and rice with chicken and Ratatouille



A glass of milk to go along with a hearty dinner









Today was not a great start since I did not mindfully eat and I did not prep dinner the night before. I did not meet my calorie, grain, and protein needs for the day. I thought that with the oatmeal and rice, I would have met the recommendations for grains. Substituting more grains for vegetables would have helped meet my grains group and calorie needs. I could have eaten more rice and beans to meet the recommendations but, if I had I may not have had enough to last me for the week.

Nutrient analysis for Monday

Calories and food groups eaten today (from MyPlate.gov)