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Food Day Celebrates Fresh, Healthy Eating Habits

The third annual event hosted by the Community Action Commission aims to improve food choices

People munched on fresh vegetables Thursday as they perused healthy-eating guides at the third annual Food Day hosted by the Community Action Commission’s Back Door Deli.

The CAC’s breakfast and lunch spot is in the Public Health Department’s complex at 315 Camino Del Remedio, and its profits fund the Healthy Senior Lunch Program.

CAC hosted Food Day as a way to celebrate eating healthier and give access to all families, regardless of income.

Fresh and healthy foods should not be a boutique item but available to everyone, CAC Executive Director Fran Forman said.

The CAC prepares about 600 meals a day for Head Start children, seniors and the county, and cooks about 80 percent of its items from scratch, she said.

Public Health Director Dr. Takashi Wada said the county is focusing on nutrition as part of what it calls the “three, four, 50.”

Three behaviors (unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and smoking tobacco) lead to four diseases (vascular disease, cancer, lung disease and type II diabetes) that cause more than 50 percent of deaths in Santa Barbara County, Wada said.

Different organizations staged tables with educational materials and samples of fruit and vegetable dishes during the deli’s lunch hours.

Master Gardeners Sandy Dietz and Helen Fowler cooked up some sugar snap peas and gave away recipes and seedlings so people could plant their own. The gardeners all have an area of expertise and educate the community about seasonal plants and pests, they said.

Public Health Department employee Jeri Waite asked people to pledge one healthy act, and taught people about the high levels of sugar and caffeine in energy drinks.

“If you’re tired, the last thing you need to do is have an energy drink; you need to take a nap,” she said.

The Rethink Your Drink campaign encourages families not to serve these kinds of sugary drinks, and focus on water and milk for children instead. 

Other organizations included the Head Start programs, the Network for a Healthy California, Chapala Gardens, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, Fairview Gardens, the Isla Vista Food Co-op, Harvest Santa Barbara, and the county's WIC nutrition program for women, infants and children.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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