Tag Archives: nutrition

YWCA Awarded SNAP ED Grant – Helping Us Make Even More Rainbows!

30 Nov

058Since 2012 the YWCA has provided healthy meals and snacks from our Rainbow in My Tummy Program for our children in our Child Care, After School, and Drop-In Child Care. Rainbow in My Tummy was created by the Verner Early Learning Center and is a way to help child care centers feed their children healthfully while still adhering to government guidelines. We stick to whole grains, mostly fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and low fat dairy. Almost all of the food that comes out of our kitchen is made from scratch by our stellar kitchen staff every day. Read “A Day in the Life of the Rainbow In My Tummy Kitchen” here.

084Now, we’re proud to announce that we will be running SNAP Ed programming starting this fall, making us the first implementing agency in Western North Carolina! SNAP Ed is a grant designed to get Nutrition and Physical Activity education to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients, as well as the general public.

As part of SNAP Ed our Nutrition Coordinator, Alex Mitchell, will run Color Me Healthy, a nutrition and physical activity curriculum, with our 3-5 year old Child Care students.  Summer Camp students will get to participate in a physical activity curriculum and participate in regular food and nutrition activities as well.  We will also hold events for our parents to learn how to make good nutrition and physical activity choices at home.060

“Nutrition and physical activity education is so important to start early, and SNAP Ed funds will give us the chance to provide these lessons,” says Alex. “I’m personally excited to get to interact with our kids and families more, and to teach information that they will then take out of the YW and into their homes and communities.”

Do you have an idea for what we should call this “snappy” new work at the YW? Email your suggestions to marketing@ywcaofasheville.org!

Kale Chips!

7 Jan

The 3 year-old classroom in the YW’s Child Care recently learned how to make kale chips… and they loved them. We think you will too!

Ms. Alex, our child nutrition coordinator, came by the class in the morning to tell the children all about kale. The children got to smell and touch the raw kale… some even went ahead and tasted it! They received their own bowl of kale leaves, and carefully removed the stems. Ms. Ashanti and the other teachers helped them dress their kale with oil and salt. Then Ms. Alex baked the kale while the children had lunch and napped.

The children loved eating the crispy, crunchy, salty kale at snack time. It went fabulously with some freshly baked corn bread.


  • ½ pound kale
  • 1 tbs of olive or canola oil
  • ½ tsp salt
    • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
    • Wash  and dry kale, remove thick stem in the center of the leaves.  Chop or tear kale into bite-size pieces about the size of potato chips.
    • Using a cookie sheet, lay out parchment paper or baking mat.
    • Toss kale pieces with olive oil and salt
    • Spread kale in one layer on the cookie sheet, make sure leaves aren’t overlapping.
    • Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes, flipping/stirring/rotating halfway through.
    • Serve fresh out of the oven.















YWCA Children Learn About Healthy Foods

19 Mar

From YWCA Child Nutrition Coordinator Alex Nielson:

Today in the Child Care Center 3-4 classroom the kids were introduced to spaghetti squash.  They got to see what a whole squash looks like as well as what it’s insides look like.  They made their own “spaghetti,” by scraping little pieces of cooked squash, and then tasted it.  Introducing new fruits and vegetables before they are served means kids are more likely to try them and like them!
child care squash 012
child care squash 011

The YWCA uses the Rainbow in My Tummy program, which was developed by the Mountain Area Child and Family Center. Rainbow in My Tummy is a creative nutrition-enrichment program that provides early care and education centers the comprehensive, innovative, and accessible resources needed to inspire and support sweeping change in local food policy and food service.

Thanks to all who made Salsa, Sabor, y Salud a Success

26 Dec

Thanks to all of our great staff and participants, Salsa, Sabor, y Salud was a success on many fronts this fall! The YWCA Preventive Health Department is very happy that we could offer health and nutrition classes to Latino families. The families that attended during the six weeks were dedicated and eager to learn, offering the insight and participation to guide their own experience.
latino family istock 6-26-12

“Gracias a mi nuera!” (“Thank you my nanny!”), exclaimed one of our participants as she was leaving with her family and added a big hug for Chloe, an intern from UNCA. Chloe and Jack who facilitated the children’s program were loving and engaged with all of the participants, offering education and attentive supervision. Jack is great at getting every child involved in the activity or game. Stephanie, another intern from UNCA, provided a cool confidence and welcoming attitude that made the adult group feel comfortable sharing about their experiences. She gave an invaluable talk on ingredients to watch out for on nutrition labels that I think will prompt big changes for the better in the pantries of our Salsa families.

Thank you as well to Susan Kettren, our Directora of Preventive Health, who didn’t give up on us and was willing to change the dates and help us secure a time and space. Thank you to Ellen Bailey who helped us with outreach and offered her experience with the program and her connection with the Latino Community. By hosting a dinner and interactive survey for participants, Ellen and the students at UNCA are making the Salsa, Salud, y Sabor Program more applicable and accessible.

Thanks to Norma who helped with interviews during our fiesta and to Zaire who led a gym tour in Spanish for us and helped with outreach. What a blessing to be able to come together and create community!

We hope to run the program again in the summer and have even more families come together to dance, share, and establish habits for lifelong health.

Hasta Pronto,

Katie Souris
Care Counselor
YWCA Preventive Health

Faces of Diabetes

14 Nov

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and today is World Diabetes Day. To help raise awareness, we want to share the stories of people in our Diabetes Wellness program who have been impacted by this disease, and to celebrate how they manage (or prevent) it with exercise and nutrition.

Punkin Hoyt – Type 2 Diabetes

Wanting to lose weight and get her diabetes under control and with the recommendation from the Buncombe County Health Department, Punkin joined the YW Diabetes Wellness program. She has really appreciated learning lots of different ways to lose weight, and even better; keeping her weight down.  She really enjoys all the people she has met at the YW. “Everyone is so nice and considerate of others. There is always someone to help you along the way if you stumble or fall down – I had a few stumbles along the way but with the support of everyone, I got back on track.”

Cindy Anderson – Type 2 Diabetes

Cindy is 1 of 9 mentors to the YWCA Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program. Her successes are many: the loss of weight – 63#s, her A1C count at the start was over 13 and is now 6.2. But even better, she no longer is on insulin medication. Cindy credits the program “I totally believe in this program. It has made such a positive change in my life; mainly by integrating exercise into my daily routine. I started out struggling to even walk from the car to the front door of the YW and now I am an instructor here teaching various classes on land and in the water!” A true believer in weighing proper portions, she also credits healthy eating of lean protein, whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables.

Robert Jones – Type 2 Diabetes

Depression and weight gain were the two main factors as to why Robert sought out the YWCA for help with his diabetes. He has lost both in weight and inches. Robert said that in the past he would just let life happen but now he has become more proactive and has developed a take charge attitude!  Way to go Robert!

Famia Carson – Pre-diabetes

Famia credits the skills she has learned through the Diabetes Prevention Program with helping her take better control of her life. “I was in a bad place and probably would not have left my house for fear of what other people would say about me.” Famia is a changed woman. She loves to cook so learning better ways preparing food and remembering to measure proper food portions are two key areas she emphasizes. Finding ways to stay motivated has made all the difference and Famia thanks her trainer Charley for that.

Jeff “JJ” McMikens – Type 2 Diabetes

“Don’t Quit!” and “build on your small successes.” These are just two affirmations JJ likes to quote when talking about his life and living with diabetes.  JJ will tell you that he struggled in the beginning. He began with walking on the treadmill eventually adding weight resistance work to his routine. He credits his involvement with Mission Hospital’s diabetes self-care course and the time spent with the pharmacist as extremely helpful.  JJ likes to point out that he has gone from taking 13 pills daily to 2. He feels the cooking classes and support group taught him the skills to become better at meal planning and with portion control. “I am an active participant in my own life.”  By participating in this program, his confidence level has grown. He has participated in walk-a-thons and on average, walks 2-3 miles a day. In fact, his success has motivated his daughter to take action and she has reported a drop of 6 sizes in her clothes! Congrats to you both!

For more information about the YWCA Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program, contact Director of Preventive Health Susan Kettren at 254-7206 x 212 or susan.kettren@ywcaofasheville.org.

November Diabetes Awareness Events

24 Oct

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

Mark Your Calendars: during November, the YWCA Diabetes Wellness & Prevention Program will be hosting the following Lunch & Learn events.

Wednesday, November 7, noon
“How to Choose Wisely When Dining Out”
Cathy Hohenstein, NC Cooperative Extension Services
Information and discussion on how to dine out right by learning how to make the right healthy choices.

Wednesday, November 14, noon
“Healthy Holiday Eating Tips”
Candace Krebs, RD & CDE Mission Hospital
Stay healthy during the holidays with holiday party survival tips. Other topics touched on are mindful eating, weight management, portions sizes, beverages, holiday cooking, being physically activity, and handling the stress that seems to come with the holidays.

Wednesday, November 28, noon
“Tai Chi for Diabetes”
Bob Feeser
Tai Chi is a gentle exercise proven to strengthen muscles, improve stamina, blood circulation, balance and relaxation. This designed program focuses on the health benefits for people with diabetes.

These events will be held at the YWCA of Asheville, 185 S. French Broad Ave. There is no cost to attend. Bring a bag lunch. Drinks will be provided.

RSVP Today!
Susan Kettren, Director of Preventive Health
254-7206 x 212, susan.kettren@ywcaofasheville.org

Urgent Editoral in Today’s Asheville Citizen-Times: “This is a program worth saving”

29 Jun

Cross-posted from the Asheville Citizen-Times:

For Asheville’s YWCA Diabetes Wellness program, the clock is ticking.

That means the clock is also ticking for the nearly 200 participants in that program, a program that may literally mean life or death for some.

The state budget passed the North Carolina General Assembly earlier this month wiped out the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund, resulting in the loss of $100,000 worth of grant funds to the YWCA, slashing the Diabetes Wellness program’s budget by almost 50 percent. As such, the YWCA Executive Director Holly Jones says the program’s coordinators are scrambling to slash expenses and seek other sources of income to fill the financing gap.

Those are long-term solutions; however, there’s a short-term gap of $25,000 need to keep the program ongoing, a gap that needs to be filled by June 30.

Tomorrow, in other words.

A lot of progress has been made toward the goal, with about $19,000 raised thanks to efforts such as the pledge from supporters to donate $100 toward the drive for every new Club W member signed up.

But the program is still in the danger zone.

Jones said, “This has been a devastating financial blow for us. We try never to be in emergency mode when it comes to financing our ongoing programs, but this was an extremely unexpected loss.”

The funding loss shouldn’t mean the loss of the program.

For let’s be very clear: This is a program worth saving.

The program combines exercise training, support groups and nutrition education with a special focus on addressing health disparities related to race and the management of diabetes. Participants are required to invest what financial resources they can, attend the program support group for the first six months and to exercise at the YWCA two times a week.

Walt Robertson, a Vietnam veteran and well-known retired Asheville police officer, testified to the program’s effectiveness in a story in the Citizen-Times earlier this month. Battling knee injuries that hampered his ability to exercise, Robertson saw his weight get out of control and began a struggle with Type 2 diabetes and depression.

Since beginning the wellness program, Robertson has shed 42 pounds, and his outlook is “in a much better place emotionally.”

Robertson said, “I was in a very dark place and got close to doing something  stupid, but this program changed everything. A lot of gyms are filled with these young guys with huge muscles, and that’s very intimidating to a lot of people, especially with diabetes. Here, the only competition is to beat the disease, and everybody’s on the same team in that fight.”

Jones noted that nearly 80 percent of the program’s participants experience better medical outcomes.

It’s ironic that the YWCA is scrambling to save this program on the heels of report just out in the United Kingdom that shows the number of adults worldwide with diabetes has doubled in just the last three decades.

The countries with the fastest rates of growth include Cape Verde and Saudi Arabia.

And, unfortunately, the good old U.S. of A.

There are tools available right here to help combat what could correctly be termed a new epidemic.

That is, if we don’t carelessly throw them away.

The clock is ticking.


Donate: Visit http://www.ywcaofasheville.orgto make an online donation, call 254-7206 ext. 206 or mail a check made out to the YWCA of Asheville, to 185 S. French Broad Ave. Asheville, NC 28801.

Join: A group of YWCA donors has agreed to donate $100 for every new Club W membership through June 30, up to 30 new members. Membership fees also contribute to community programming through the YWCA. Visit www.ywcaofasheville.org or call 254-7206 for membership information or to join.

Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

14 Mar

Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

March 30th – June 15th 2011
Wednesdays 5:30pm – 6:30 pm
Location:  YWCA of Asheville
185 S. French Broad Avenue, Asheville
Cost:  $30 (covers all the weeks)

Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less is a weight-management program that uses strategies proven to work. Each lesson informs, empowers and motivates participants to live mindfully as they make choices about eating and physical activity. The program provides opportunities for participants to track their progress and keep a journal of healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. The program can be offered to community members, worksites and other groups interested in eating smart, moving more and achieving a healthy weight.  There are twelve lessons covering these topics. 

Topics Covered

1. Introduction  9. Plan, Shop, Fix and Eat
2. Make Your Commitment 10. Eat Out Less
3. Re-Think Your Drink 11. Move Strong
4. Eat Fewer Calories 12. Start Smart
5. Move More 13. Tame the Tube
6. Check the Facts 14. Pack Smart Lunches
7. Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables 15. Keep Your Commitment
8. Right-Size Your Portions  

Each lesson includes:
• In-depth information about why the behavior is important for weight loss and weight maintenance
• Strategies for adopting the behavior
• 3-5 minute physical activity break
• Ways concepts can be adopted by the whole family
• Opportunity for sharing and celebrating
• Suggestions for living mindfully
• Guided discussion of strategy for the week
• Time for each participant to assess body weight in a non-public setting

Each participant receives:

Eat Smart Move More, Weigh Less Magazine—a full-color magazine that contains the most salient points from each lesson, recipes and more.
Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less Journal—a small booklet that helps participants keep track of their weight, food eaten and physical activity.

 For More Information and to register Contact:  Cathy Hohenstein
NC Cooperative Extension – Buncombe County Center
(828) 255-5522

Dan Mason’s Success Continues

13 Jan

An update on YWCA Diabetes Wellness Program participant Dan Mason‘s journey through physical activity and disease management.

By Rachel Blattner, YWCA Preventive Health Fitness Trainer

Dan Mason began his health journey in 2005. He has met many goals, including competing in 5k distance run/walks. He is now an advocate of physical activities including; walking/jogging, strength training and hiking. Over the past year, Dan has come a long way to finishing the ultimate competition; managing his Diabetes. As the race continues, Dan’s enthusiasm for improvement far outweighs the challenges of Diabetes.

Dan has adopted a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and eating foods rich in vitamins and nutrients. One milestone in his life recently has been cutting down to one diet soda a week. In moderation, sugar is necessary but an influx of sugar into the bloodstream can upset the body’s blood-sugar balance. “Don’t be mistaken,” Dan adds, “with ‘the Sugar’ (slang for diabetes), come the cravings for more.” Diet soda, like most soda pops and sweetened beverages, contains high amounts of sugar or sugar additives. Sugar triggers the release of insulin into the blood stream, which the body uses to regulate blood-sugar levels, creating a false appetite, and tend to make you feel hungry. The hormone insulin also promotes the storage of fat, so when you eat or drink high amounts of sugar, you’re making way for weight gain. The problem is not the diet soda itself, it’s the amount consumed. Most people don’t drink just one 12 oz can a week; they consume several throughout the course of a week, even a day. I suggest placing one in the refrigerator, and keep the others out of sight. Store them away in the basement, that way, when you want one the thought of taking the trip down to the basement makes you less likely to do so.

Dan wants to inspire more people to enter 5k races. “There have to be more people like myself; people who at first don’t think it’s possible, but who can discover that it is possible,” he says.

Today, Dan is off his diabetes medications altogether, and has lowered his blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C. He is consistent with his training days in the gym, and never misses a support group meeting. Dan is a conqueror at overcoming barriers. He continues to fight Diabetes and is determined to win!

About the Diabetes Wellness Program
The goals of the Diabetes Wellness Program are to empower those with diabetes to develop the habit of exercise to manage their illness, to reduce the incidence of diabetes by increasing exercise frequency and reducing weight, and to promote healthy lifestyle changes for the entire family. If you would like more info contact Alphie Rodriguez, program director, at 254-7206 ext. 212

*Sources: 2007 Healing Daily/detoxification.sugar.com WebMD

Rainbow in My Tummy

8 Dec

In partnership with Mountain Area Child and Family Center, the YW has implemented the Rainbow in My Tummy program in our Child Care Center. This program is a nutrition-enrichment program that helps early childcare and education centers make sweeping change in their food service program. We revamped our purchasing and cooking to include fresh produce, less processed food, less additives, and more whole grains. We are cooking more and opening cans less. We are working to provide simple tips to go home to parents through our parent newsletter. We are also providing every child enrolled in YW programs a flyer about our Diabetes Prevention program, thus providing them a greater opportunity to continue to make healthy changes. And guess what? The kids are enjoying their new menu!

photo by sandra stambaugh