Like millions of Georgians, Yvonne and her family are food insecure. With only $6.70 a day to spend on food, higher-priced fresh and nutritious foods are out of reach for her family. Inaccessibility of fresh, healthy food puts them at an even higher risk for chronic, diet-related disease.
“Number 1: I have high blood pressure, Number 2: I have arthritis, and Number 3: I’m a little bit overweight,” says Yvonne. While participating in the Food For Health program, she began to understand the connection between her diet and her illnesses.
In the Georgia Food For Health program, Yvonne met with her doctor on a monthly basis where they see health outcomes and she received a weekly “prescription,” or voucher, for fruits and vegetables at her local farmers market. In addition to the prescription, which covered food for her and her entire family, Georgia Food For Health offered Yvonne nutrition education and cooking classes.
“By eating healthier and attending nutrition classes, I am more aware of what goes into my body.” Yvonne’s new knowledge inspired her take full control of her chronic illness. She was surprised to learn that her diet could even affect her arthritis. “Eating well helps my arthritis. It allows me to maneuver more because the foods [I eat] are anti-inflammatory.” Yvonne has lost weight and has her arthritis under control, giving her the freedom to live a more active life.
Although Yvonne had acquired a wealth of knowledge about healthy eating, her family’s limited budget still made it difficult to eat all of the fresh, healthy foods they needed, so she decided to apply for SNAP. With the help of SNAP and the Fresh for Less program where SNAP dollars are matched, Yvonne’s entire family incorporates more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet.
Their favorite place to shop for fresh, local produce? The East Point Farmers Market. They love the market’s friendly atmosphere and the abundance of natural or organic fruits and vegetables. With her daughters and granddaughters in tow, Yvonne pours over fresh, summer produce like sweet corn and collards. Her granddaughter eyes a basket of blueberries and Yvonne smiles. “My granddaughter eats more fruits now. At night, we’ll eat fruit,” she says, instead of a typical sugary treat.
Their bags are filled to the brim, and they head home to cook their favorite meal: greens, baked chicken, potato salad, and fresh corn-on-the-cob.
The nutritional lifestyle change Yvonne incorporated in her household after participating in the Food For Health program has affected three generations. Her new motto speaks volumes, “Cook healthy. Eat healthy. Feel healthy.”