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National Nutrition Month: Groups Provide Healthy Food Education in Greensboro

North Carolina is ninth in food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with Guildford County ranking at the top in the state. (American Heart Association)
North Carolina is ninth in food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with Guildford County ranking at the top in the state. (American Heart Association)
March 21, 2019

GREENSBORO, N.C. – For this National Nutrition Month, chef N'gai Dickerson is traveling through underserved neighborhoods in Greensboro, serving up healthy meals and providing hands-on instruction and education.

Greensboro has the nation's third highest food-hardship rate for households with children.

Dickerson says social factors such as education, unemployment, lower income and limited access to fresh foods can have a direct impact on one's ability to live a long, healthy life.

"Individuals aren't really comfortable cooking their own meals,” he states. “We're really getting more into farmers’ markets now and people are starting to come out and be a little more creative with their meals, but it's kind of like you stay in the same genre when it comes to food, and I think that once people step out of that, it's a huge change that can happen."

Dickerson's mobile kitchen is a partnership of a multicultural collaboration involving the American Heart Association, the Guilford County Health Department and the Blairton Hampton Family with the support of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Greensboro.

Participants will leave each class with enough healthy food to feed up to four family members.

Class attendees also will receive recipe cards, nutritional information and smart shopping and meal guidance tools. The classes focus on heart health and wellness education.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world. African-Americans experience an even greater risk for heart disease and stroke, have almost twice the risk of first ever strokes compared with whites, and have higher death rates related to stroke.

Dickerson says healthy food doesn't have to be boring.

"The twist on soul food is definitely one of the ways to kind of approach it,” he states. “In the South, we also love Mexican food and Asian food. So we can add those same ingredients to our everyday meals, you know, like your ginger and your red pepper flakes and your fresh herbs. We can add that to our southern favorites."

Dickerson says the mobile kitchen provides important cooking options to people who don't have access to healthy foods.

He says you don't need to be a chef to create nutritious, heart-healthy meals your family will love.

For heart-healthy recipes, visit www.heart.org/recipes.

Antionette Kerr, Public News Service - NC