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Be a hero – redesign your diet!

foodherologoThe OSU Extension Service recently launched Food Hero – an initiative to encourage low-income Oregonians to eat a well-balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables.  According to a recent survey, 81 percent of people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) want to serve more balanced meals.  And a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey showed that less than one third of Oregonians eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables.

“This isn’t only about weight loss and warding off potential disease,” says Lauren Tobey, nutrition education program coordinator, although those are great benefits.  “It’s about encouraging a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, providing new ways to make them tasty, understanding that frozen and canned versions are just as beneficial as fresh and taking care of your family by being a food hero.”

The program debuted in September in Josephine, Klamath, Lane and Marion counties with food events, front-promodemonstrations and contests.   Anyone can benefit from information on the bilingual website that includes recipes and timesaving tips for preparing your favorite fruits and vegetables. If you sign up for a free Food Hero membership you can also save your favorite recipes, tailor them for the number of people in your family and even create a custom shopping list. You can also share healthy eating tips with other members.  The site also includes a video of a “Food Makeover” for Brittany and Matt Powell and their three daughters.

As part of the Food Hero launch, KPTV in Portland featured OSU Extension nutrition specialist Anne Hoisington making a healthy salad with canned goods.