Showing is better than telling

Published 9:35 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013

One barrier to healthy eating habits is the cost of food that can be used for healthy meals, as opposed to the cost of food that contributes to unhealthy lifestyles. Low-fat, low-sodium and non-processed food items are often more expensive than their healthy counterparts. Furthermore, many people do not have experience using healthful alternatives to create meals for their families.

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia is teaming up this week with a number of local organizations, including Healthy People/Healthy Suffolk, the Salvation Army, the Obici Healthcare Foundation, the American Diabetes Association and the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, to help people in Suffolk overcome these two hurdles to healthy eating.

During a scheduled visit to Suffolk on Friday by the Foodbank’s mobile pantry, organizers will demonstrate how to cook a healthy chicken lentil soup and will provide recipe cards and nutrition information intended to help participants learn to recreate the dish at home. Visitors also will be able to pick up free low-sodium canned vegetables, low-sodium soup and whole-wheat pasta that they can use in other recipes to help their families improve their diets.

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Suffolk has high rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and the rates are highest among the city’s lowest income brackets. The educational effort is intended to help participants learn how they can make small changes in their diets to bring about significant improvements in their health.

It’s a positive, pro-active program that should be far more effective in changing the poor diet habits of a group that with significant health risks than just preaching to them about the dangers of unhealthy food and sending them on their way. Showing is almost always better than telling.

The healthy mobile pantry will visit the Salvation Army, 400 Bank St., on Friday, March 15, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. For more information, visit