Healthy on a Budget Find out how to save a bundle and stay healthy with affordable meal recipes, food shopping tips, and much more. Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/rss.xml When Getting More for Your Money, Size Matters http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10812/ Tue, 08 Dec 2015 11:04:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10812/ Howdy!

After you’ve budgeted for your weekly meals, meal planned, bought only what’s on your grocery list, and used every other tip in the book for stretching your food dollar, what could you possibly be missing to squeeze out even more value from your food budget?!

Portion size! Eating the recommended serving size, especially of meat, poultry and fish, is essential for having more food for a longer time. Ever run through a whole bag of chips, a gallon of milk, or a package of chicken and wonder “where does all the food go so quickly?!” Newsflash: you may be eating too much for one portion!

Don’t worry, you’re not alone; in fact, much of America these days has “portion distortion,” meaning the amount we think is normal is actually much more than we need. And it’s not just us - the restaurant and food industry portion sizes have grown along with our waistlines. In the past 20 years alone, our restaurant and fast food portion sizes have doubled and sometimes tripled.

If we paid more attention to the recommending serving sizes, we’d find the actual serving sizes we need are often significantly different than what we serve ourselves. Here’s a quick guide to serving size adapted from www.eatright.org:

Food

One Serving Size

Equivalent Size

Bread

1 slice

CD cover

Dry cereal

1 cup

Baseball

Pancake/waffle

6-inch circle

CD

Rice, pasta, chips, pretzels

½ cup

½ Baseball

Ice cream

½ cup

Tennis ball

Fresh fruit, dried fruit

1 small fruit, ¼ cup

Tennis ball, golf ball

Potato

1 medium potato

Computer mouse

Vegetables

1 cup

Baseball

Milk

1 cup

Baseball

Cheese

1 ½ - 2 ounces or 1 slice

9-volt battery

Beef, poultry, fish

3 ounces

Deck of cards



You may be hungrier in the beginning, but after some time you will get used to eating smaller portions and having more food to go around. You may even find you have a smaller waistline too! Overall, it’s a win-win.

Wishing you the best of health,

Whitney

 

Cheesy Rice and Tomatoes, Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Prepare rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add onion, celery, green pepper and cook slowly until tender.
  4. Add tomatoes, cooked rice, and shredded cheese.
  5. Cover and cook on low heat until cheese melts and mixture is hot.

Nutrition facts (per serving): 210 calories, 6g fat, 420mg sodium, 33g total carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 6g protein

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2015-2016 Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award - It's Here! http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10787/ Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:44:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10787/ 2015-2016 Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award - It's Here!

Due: Friday, April 8th, 2016

Want an application? Click here!

The Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award was created to recognize public schools in Sangamon County that have taken steps to create a healthy environment for their students and staff in the areas of nutrition education, school food, physical activity, staff wellness, and more. A healthy school environment is positively associated with academic achievement and improved behavior, helps prevent childhood obesity, and decreases the risk of future chronic diseases by promoting ideal health practices among youth.

Schools are the places to teach the best practices in every subject, and Sangamon County schools are creating new programs, working with community partners, and making changes to the environment, school food, and policies so that nutrition and physical activity become second nature to current and future students. We will reap the benefits through a new generation of healthy, thriving youth and a healthier future for Illinois. For their commitment to their students' health, we would like to recognize their efforts with this award.

Annually, schools in Sangamon County will be selected to receive the Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award in Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Winners will be chosen and contacted in April 2016. Winning schools will be recognized and awarded their Certificate of Excellence in a subsequent school board meeting for their district.

Congratulations to our winners for 2014-2015!

Dubois Elementary, Springfield IL – Gold Winner

Harvard Park Elementary, Springfield IL – Gold Winner

Matheny-Withrow Elementary, Springfield IL – Gold Winner with Distinction

Special thanks to our 2014-2015 community partners in Sangamon County who support & appreciate our schools' efforts to improve school wellness!

GenHkids, Illinois Department of Public Health, County Market, Springfield Urban League, YMCA of Sprignfield, Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Action for Healthy Kids, Sangamon County Department of Public Health, and the Sangamon-Menard Regional Office of Education

Eligible schools include:

  • K-12 Public schools within Sangamon County
  • K-12 Alternative public schools within Sangamon County
  • Additional consideration will be given to schools with a free/reduced lunch population above 40% and first time applicants, however all schools are highly encouraged to apply
  • Qualifying school wellness activities must have taken place in the 2015-2016 school year (August 1, 2015 – July 31, 2016)

A complete application consists of:

  1. Copy of district wellness policy
  2. Excellence in School Wellness Award application
  3. Deadline – Fri, April 8th, 2016
  4. Email application as attachment to ajie2@illinois.edu, or
  5. Fax to 217-524-6662, or
  6. Mail to c/o: Whitney Ajie, 700 South Airport Drive, Springfield, IL 62707

Award submission & notification process:

  • Award application to be submitted by Fri, April 8th, 2016 at 5:00pm
  • Award winners will be notified by April 29th
  • Award winners will be recognized with a Certificate of Excellence at a subsequent Board of Education meeting for their school district

Scoring information & Criteria for Excellence in School Wellness Award

Schools will be assessed based on their responses to the checklist questions under several critical areas related to school wellness. Based on each response, a school will receive a point(s) or fraction of a point per question.

Schools that provide additional information in their open response sections, included for each wellness area, could be awarded additional points based on the details of their planning process, reach, implementation, impact, creativity, longevity/maintenance, student/family feedback, etc. The open response sections give each school the opportunity to illustrate more openly the work they've done to satisfy the criteria.

A school's final score is based on the sum of their checklist points, open response points, and any additional points scored for additional consideration, e.g. first time applicant, over 40% free/reduced lunch, etc. If at or above 40 total points, a school will be placed in either the Bronze, Silver, or Gold award category.

Award categories based on score:

  • Bronze: 40-60 points
  • Silver: 61-80 points
  • Gold: 81-100 points

Baseline requirements:

  • Participate in the National School Lunch Program and/or National School Breakfast Program
  • Have a written, district wellness policy
  • Have a school wellness team – Additional consideration for teams that include a parent(s), student(s), and/or community member(s)
  • Elementary schools: Offer a minimum of 75 minutes of physical activity each week (includes Physical Education (PE) classes and recess)
  • Middle schools/Junior high schools: Compliant with daily PE requirements for all students, other than exempt students; or, for every grade a student completes, the student completes the equivalent of 1 semester of PE
  • High schools: Compliant with daily PE requirements for all students, other than exempt students; or, by graduation each student will have completed the equivalent of 2 credits (or 4 semesters of PE)

Scoring rubric:

  • Nutrition & Activity – 60 points maximum:
    • Food Service – 20 points
    • Nutrition/Nutrition Education – 20 points
    • Physical Education/Activity – 20 points
  • Outreach – 30 points maximum:
    • Marketing/Promotion – 15 points
    • Family/Community Involvement – 15 points
  • Staff Wellness – 10 points maximum

Additional notes:

  • Quality of programming, above quantity, and policy implementation is emphasized
  • Inclusion of parents and students in planning, promotion, and implementation of school wellness activities is strongly encouraged
  • Inclusion of community partners in your school wellness efforts is strongly encouraged
  • Inclusion of pictures and/or video documenting school wellness activities is welcomed

 

Contact information:

Please don't hesitate to contact Whitney Ajie at University of Illinois Extension with questions or concerns. Phone: 217-782-4617. Email: ajie2@illinois.edu. Website: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/


We look forward to reading your application!

Due: Friday, April 8th, 2016

Click here to download the application!


Instructions

Download the fillable PDF document from the link provided. The form can be filled in using Adobe Reader and saved on any computer. Please respond to the application questions in the critical areas of school wellness: Food Service, Nutrition/Nutrition Education, Physical Education/Activity, Marketing/Promotion, Family/Community Involvement, and Staff Wellness.

Under each heading, there is a checklist of several questions and an open response section. The open response section is optional, but highly encouraged as it could earn you additional points. The open response section allows you illustrate how you have supported and implemented your school's wellness goals in each area. The more details you provide, the better we can assess your school's efforts. You do not have to answer every question, unless it is a required question; however, you will only be assessed by the questions that have a response. Schools will receive a score between 0-100, and will compete for the Gold, Silver or Bronze awards - Bronze Category (40-60 points), Silver Category (61-80 points), or Gold Category (81-100 points). Within each category, an overall winner will be announced as a Bronze with Distinction, Silver with Distinction, or Gold with Distinction winner. To select the overall winner, the final score as well as the open responses or any additional documentation submitted will be considered.

Activities must have taken place between August 1, 2015 and July 31, 2016. Examples of what to include in your open response are: detailed explanation of the activity, who and what was involved in planning and implementation, the duration of the activity and/or how long the activity has been maintained, how the activity is/will be monitored or maintained over time, how the activity has impacted students, parents and/or staff (e.g. in-class behavior, attendance, truancy, grades, fitness tests, trips to nurse/principal's office, plate waste, involvement, attitudes, efficiency, instructional time, etc.), how the activity meets your school's needs or satisfies part of the wellness policy, any community or family involvement, how the activity was innovative or creative, how money was raised or grant funding was received, and similar relevant information. Your open response entries may be typed and submitted with your application. Additional documents (including pictures and video) are encouraged if they support or further explain your activities in each section. When submitting supporting documentation, please label the documents as to which section they are supporting, i.e. Food Service, Nutrition/Nutrition Education, Physical Education/Activity, Marketing/Promotion, Family/Community Involvement, or Staff Wellness. Please label your supporting documents with the appropriate section on the top right-hand side.

You are required to include a copy of your district's wellness policy, as well as any rules & regulations for the policy, with your completed application. If your school has added policies or rules that go above and beyond the district's policy, please include those as well.

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Tips to Know for a Great Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping Experience http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10674/ Tue, 27 Oct 2015 12:19:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10674/ Howdy!

I've learned a lot in the past 4 years I've been cooking at home for myself and the past 2 years that I've taught others how to plan, shop, and cook for their families. I learn new things all the time, but for now I've collected a list of tips and advice that work consistently to save me money and time, while providing me with nutritious home-cooked meals. I've added some advice for families with children as well.

I'm sure these tips will help you too!

  1. Meal plan and shop on weekend days when you have more time to plan out a weekly menu and shop without being rushed.
  2. Use mostly recipes that you already know and are comfortable with. Don’t add more than 1-2 new recipes in a week.
  3. Include snacks in your weekly meal planning so that when hunger strikes you have a healthy option available that you already paid for and don’t have to spend more money on an expensive snack, like at a vending machine or a fast food place. Think about how to include food groups you don’t get enough of in your snacks.
  4. Ask kids to tell you a few meals they’d like to have each week so that they feel included in planning your family menu, and it gives you some guidance as to what foods in include in the menu that your kids will eat.
  5. Plan ahead! Know when you need to thaw your frozen chicken meat the day before, or if you could chop and refrigerate/freeze vegetables on Sunday enough for Monday-Wednesday to put yourself ahead of schedule.
  6. Mentally prepare for about 30 minutes of meal preparation every meal on average. The actual time you spend might be more or less, but this average gives you an idea of how much time to give yourself each day. The time will be more efficient if you get some help in the kitchen from your kids. It might take longer in the beginning because kids will have to learn how to do things, but eventually they will catch on and cooking with their help will be a breeze! Kids learn valuable skills in the kitchen far beyond cooking and nutrition. They can talk about their colors, numbers, they can identify kitchen objects and what they’re used for and food objects, improves their dexterity (practice holding utensils, cutting, chopping, stirring), math practice (fractions from measuring, addition, multiplying/dividing with changing recipes amounts), vocabulary/spelling, more likely to eat what they’ve made, family bonding time and social skill development (table manners, conversation, sharing).
  7. Be flexible with what items can be used in a recipe or meal. If you’ve made well-thought out meal plan, but see that something else at the store is on sale – keep a look out for things that can be substituted in your meal plan if that helps your budget. Also, keep an eye out for things in a recipe that you don’t need to spend money on, e.g. extra seasonings/herbs you don’t have, can you use rice instead of pasta since you already have it, etc.
  8. Use store flyers to direct you to sale prices on items at the store. You can pick up a flyer as you leave the week before and use that to tell you what sales will be going on the next week and use that to plan your menu. Or, pick up a flyer once you get to the store and compare that to your grocery list to see if anything you need is on sale or anything that’s on sale can be used instead of what you came to buy.
  9. Make a grocery list from your meal plan and bring it to the store. This is a guide for things you need to get that follow your budget. Check your freezer, fridge, and pantry to see what you already have and don’t need to buy.
  10. Write down the rounded price of every item you get on your grocery list. If a loaf of bread is on the list, and bread is $2.07, write $2.00 next to the word ‘bread’. If 2 gallons of milk is on the list, and milk is $1.97, write $4.00 for 2 gallons of milk at a rounded price of $2.00 next to the word 'milk'. Do that for everything you get, then BEFORE you get to the cash register, add everything up and check that you are close to your budget for the week. This gives you a chance to put back any items that make you go over budget, or get a little more if you’re under budget.
  11. When creating your weekly menu, create a plan to use leftovers. This might be obvious or not so obvious. Chili on Monday? Have chili for lunch on Tuesday or use it to make soup for dinner tomorrow.
  12. Think about have themed days so that you always know what meals you’ll be making those days to cut down on meal planning time. For example, Taco Tuesday, Spaghetti Wednesday, Burrito Thursday, Breakfast for Dinner Friday.
  13. Try to plan 1-2 meals each week without meat. This lets the meat you do buy stretch for the whole week because you’re not eating it every day, and is a chance to include more fruits, vegetables, beans, peas or whole grains.
  14. Keep pantry staples in your kitchen, which are common foods or condiments that are commonly used in many recipes. This way you’ll be prepared to make your recipes each week. Staple foods typically last a few weeks to months.
  15. Buy generic food/products instead of brand name products. There are no major differences in nutritional quality between cheaper brands and more expensive brands. There may be differences in taste, but often you can’t tell the difference. There may be differences in amounts of sodium, sugar, or fat, but usually not enough to justify spending more money. Generic products have improved in taste and quality over the years to be on par with some name brand products so more and more people, no matter what their income, have started to buy generic products.

Hope you learned some valuable information to add to what you already know. I'm always eager to learn more tips to shop smart and spend less, so what tips do you have for me?! Send me a comment below and let me know!


Wishing you the best of health,


Whitney Ajie
Extension Educator, Illinois Nutrition Education Programs

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2014-2015 Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award: The Results Are In! http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10671/ Mon, 26 Oct 2015 19:13:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10671/ 2014-2015 Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award! http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10544/ Thu, 17 Sep 2015 14:33:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10544/ Due: Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

*NEW* Now you can submit your application online! CLICK HERE to go to the application page. (Please be aware that you cannot save your application and return to it, but you can keep the window open on your computer and continue to add more information as long as the window does not close)

The Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award was created to recognize public and private schools in Sangamon County that have taken steps to create a healthy environment for their students and staff in the areas of nutrition education, school food, physical activity, staff wellness, and more. A healthy school environment is positively associated with academic achievement and improved behavior, helps prevent childhood obesity, and decreases the risk of future chronic diseases by promoting ideal health practices among youth.

Schools are the places to teach the best practices in every subject, and Sangamon County schools are making changes to the environment, school food, and policies so that nutrition and physical activity become second nature to current and future students. We will reap the benefits through a new generation of healthy, thriving youth and a healthier future for Illinois. For their commitment to their students’ health, we would like to recognize their efforts with this award.

Annually, schools in Sangamon County will be selected to receive the Sangamon County Excellence in School Wellness Award in Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Winners will be chosen and contacted in October 2015. Winning schools will be recognized and awarded their Certificate of Excellence during the next school board meeting for their district.

Special thanks to our community partners in Sangamon County who support & appreciate our schools’ efforts to improve school wellness!

  • University of Illinois Extension
  • genHkids
  • Illinois Department of Public Health
  • County Market
  • Springfield Urban League
  • YMCA of Springfield
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois Action for Healthy Kids
  • Sangamon County Department of Public Health
  • Sangamon-Menard Regional Office of Education

Eligibility:

  • K-12 Public schools within Sangamon County
  • K-12 Private schools within Sangamon County
  • K-12 Alternative schools within Sangamon County
  • Additional consideration will be given to schools with a free/reduced lunch population above 40% and first time applicants, however all schools are highly encouraged to apply
  • Qualifying school wellness activities must have taken place in the 2014-2015 school year (August 1, 2014 – July 31, 2015)

A complete application consists of (click on links below for forms):

  1. Copy of district or school wellness policy (submit via email, fax, or mail, or email link(s) to where it can be found online)
  2. Excellence in School Wellness Award application (paper copy) (online application)
  3. Extracurricular Program Form (paper copy, sign & submit)

Award submission & notification process:

  • Award application to be submitted by Wed, September 30th, 2015 at 5:00pm
  • Award winners will be notified by October 15th
  • Award winners will be recognized at their district’s next school board meeting

Criteria for Excellence in School Wellness Award:

  • Schools will be assessed based on their responses to the checklist questions under several critical areas related to school wellness. Each school will receive a point(s) per question based on their response.
  • Schools that provide additional information in their open response section, included for each wellness area, could be awarded additional points based on the details of their planning process, reach, implementation, impact, creativity, longevity/maintenance, student/family feedback, etc. The open response sections give each school the opportunity to illustrate more openly the work they’ve done to satisfy the criteria.
  • Once schools receive their final score, winners will be chosen and will receive recognition with the Gold, Silver or Bronze award in school wellness.

Baseline requirements:

  • Have a written, district wellness policy
  • Have a school wellness team – Additional consideration for teams that include a principal, parent(s), student(s), and/or community member(s)
  • Elementary schools: Offer a minimum of 75 minutes of physical activity each week (includes Physical Education (PE) classes and recess)
  • Middle schools: Compliant with daily PE requirements for all students, other than exempt students
  • High schools: Compliant with daily PE requirements for all students, other than exempt students

Scoring rubric:

  • Nutrition & Activity – 60 points maximum:
    • Food Service – 20 points
    • Nutrition/Nutrition Education – 20 points
    • Physical Education/Activity – 20 points
  • Outreach – 30 points maximum:
    • Marketing/Promotion – 15 points
    • Family/Community Involvement – 15 points
  • Staff Wellness – 10 points maximum
  • Bronze Category (30-50 points), Silver Category (51-70 points), Gold Category (71-100 points)

Additional notes about criteria:

  • Quality of programming, above quantity, and policy implementation is emphasized
  • Inclusion of community partners in your school wellness efforts is strongly encouraged
  • Inclusion of parents and students in planning, promotion, and implementation of school wellness activities is strongly encouraged
  • Inclusion of pictures and/or video documenting school wellness activities is welcomed

Contact information:

Please don’t hesitate to contact the INEP Extension Educator, Whitney Ajie, with any questions or concerns.

Whitney Ajie, MS
Illinois Nutrition Education Programs, University of Illinois Extension
700 South Airport Dr., Springfield, IL 62707
Phone: 217-782-4617
Email: ajie2@illinois.edu
Website: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/

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Getting Afterschool Snacks Back on Track! http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10442/ Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:41:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10442/ Howdy!

It’s that time of the year again! Whether or not you’re happy about school starting and summer ending, it’s a good thing to be prepared – especially to provide that popular treat known as the afterschool snack!

With more than a few hours between school lunch and coming home afterschool, kids are usually very hungry, but you don’t want them to eat so much that they aren’t hungry for dinner, and you don’t want them to grab junk food which can be so handy.

A good rule of thumb for healthy snacks is to combine a carbohydrate – like a grain, fruit, or vegetable –with a protein – like lean meat (chicken, turkey), beans, cheese, or nuts/nut butter. The carbohydrates will restore your student’s energy, since carbohydrates are an efficient energy source for our minds and bodies, and the protein will make their bellies feel satisfied and will keep hunger away longer because the protein takes longer to digest. Therefore, they get a quick but satisfying snack that won’t have them opening the refrigerator over and over again.

Here are some examples of this healthy snack combination that can be made ahead of time or that are easy enough for students to make themselves:

  • Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • Turkey or ham lunch meat sandwich with lettuce on whole wheat bread or on a tortilla
  • Carrot sticks or bell pepper slices with ranch cream cheese dip
  • Trail mix made with cereal and nuts
  • Bean dip with tortilla chips or veggie sticks for dipping
  • Yogurt parfait (yogurt with fruit and granola or cereal)
  • Cheese and ham roll-ups (roll cheese slices & lunch meat slices together)
  • …the possibilities are endless!

Incorporating healthy snacks into your student’s daily routine, and getting them involved with making them, are great ways to set the foundation for your child’s lifelong health and wellness.

For more snack ideas, try browsing the USDA's "What's Cooking?" online recipe collection.

 

Wishing you the best of health,

Whitney Ajie

Illinois Nutrition Education Programs (INEP)

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What a Nutritionist Eats http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10140/ Wed, 10 Jun 2015 14:49:00 +0000 http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lms/eb334/entry_10140/ Howdy y'all,

Recently I was shown an article written by a Registered Dietitian that documented what she ate in a typical day. I have a love/hate relationship with articles like this.

Why I love them: they show a variety of healthy meals, snacks, beverages that are made and eaten by real people, people who typically live an overall healthy lifestyle. Seeing real life options, instead of telling people food groups or giving them picture-less, recipe-less lists of healthy foods to eat, could be part of the spark that helps people change the things they're eating and think they can do it too. Plus, I usually get an idea or two for things I'd like to try.

Why I hate them: of course, the most typical day people choose to document is the healthiest day they've had in months. Of course, I'm being facetious; however, it's kind of true that when I look through the typical day of a Dietitian or Nutritionist, it's like they put all the freshest, least fat-containing, most fiber-containing, and least sugar-filled foods on their plates all day, and then we're left to believe that they do it all over again day after day after day. In addition, I'm sure I'm not the only one who starts to doubt how healthy my own diet is when I see what other nutrition professionals are professing to eat on a daily basis. Bottomline, in my opinion, it just doesn't give a very realistic understanding of the occasional (and sometimes more than occasional...) indulgences that we, as a nutrition professionals, still eat and enjoy!

So....drum roll please!....to give you additional real life examples of how a nutritionist eats, today I started documenting all the food/beverages I eat and will continue to do so on a mostly daily basis (translation: whenever I remember! and hopefully that's almost every day). I will include ingredients and sometimes recipes, and nutrition facts when I can. Find the pictures on my Instagram and Twitter pages with #nutritionisteats and follow me for updates!

Wishing you the best of health,

Whitney Ajie

Illinois Nutrition Education Programs (INEP) Educator

 

 

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