Participants at a recent food bank training wait in anticipation to sample the Asian cabbage slaw, brown rice and kale salad they have just finished preparing.
To some, these items may not sound appealing, but the trainees learned in their Health Ambassadors certification course that nutritious food can be delicious.
They now take these recipes and more into their own neighborhoods, serving as change agents for community health.
It’s been my pleasure to serve in the role as coach for the Capital Area Food Bank’s Health Ambassador training since the program began in early 2013.
This volunteer position complements my studies in nutrition. I’m able to add a little bit of my background to the well-designed curriculum which outlines basic nutrition and health topics:
- the importance of nutrition and health
- modeling healthy eating behaviors
- working with SNAP
- healthy eating on a budget
My time with the food bank is well spent. At Health Ambassador training sessions, participants are enthusiastic about discussing ways to incorporate nutrition into their food pantry program, and for lunch.
On the menu during the last training was lentil soup with herbs, onions, and garlic — a recipe that one of the participants had previously served to pantry clients.
Recognizing that healthy food and physical activity go hand-in-hand, after lunch the group gets moving. A tour of the food bank shows how food donations are packed for partners — another great volunteer experience.
I am thankful for participating in such a rewarding and relevant volunteer experience.
I know, too, that those in training find it rewarding to apply what they learn in Health Ambassadors and that those they serve benefit from having access to healthier options and the know-how to turn those ingredients into nourishing meals for their family.
Attend a Health Ambassadors training
Are you looking for ways to include more nutrition education at your site? Want to gain skills in healthy cooking and eating healthy on a budget? Join the Health Ambassadors Program!
Using a train-the-trainer format, the HAP aims to educate, equip and empower leaders to use best practices in nutrition education and champion healthy eating in their communities.
All partner agencies who complete the two-day training receive a take-home kit of nutrition education resources to be used at their agency.
Nutrition 101: Nutrition Basics
Nutrition 102: Nutrition At Your Site
Nutrition 103: Healthy Eating on a Budget.
Click here to register for Day 1
Nutrition 201: Addressing Community Needs
Nutrition 202: Inspiring Health
Click here to register for Day 2
Nadra Henderson is a nutrition student and a healthy food enthusiast. She is volunteer with the Capital Area Food Bank as a Health Ambassador coach and will be conducting January 24th’s Health Ambassador workshop.