National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, so let’s talk about food! Food is essential to everyone. We love to share recipes with one another, and many of our favorite memories revolve around a kitchen table and a shared meal. Givens Gerber Park believes that food is one of the best ways we can build community- that is why:

  1. We are so proud to partner Manna Food Bank, an organization dedicated to ending food insecurity in Western North Carolina. Bi-weekly, residents can shop for groceries- produce, dairy and meat products, household items, non-perishable staples, etc. for free on our campus. Our food pantry is a resource available to residents at any time.
  2. We have a café on campus, and it is open to the public. This gives residents an
    Pistachio roasted trout with dill aioli, couscous with blistered tomatoes, and loaded potato salad (Go To Café)

    option to gather at their convenience, invite their friends and family to meals at their home, and has provided residents with an opportunity to interact with our larger community who stop in. We have specialty menus that rotate daily and weekly, and then a staple menu consisting of classic and favorite items such as soups, salads, sandwiches.

  3. We host community potlucks once a month, our Resident Service Coordinators provide protein, and residents are encouraged to prepare side dishes to pair. Residents look forward to potlucks and leave feeling fulfilled both from food and connection.

As part of National Nutrition Month, our Community Nurse, Lisa Rogers, will be hosting a “Food for Mood” presentation. Our residents will be sure to learn a lot about healthy habits, simple recipes, and the reason behind their importance and its connection to our emotional and mental state of being.

Nutrition affects not only the body, but the mind as well. National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign that started in 1973 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They emphasize the importance of learning about nutrition and making more informed food choices. Our society has advanced so much due to technology, opposed to our ancestors who ate based on what grew seasonally and locally, we have the luxury to choose what we want to eat when we want it. While this is a great advantage, it also can have serious consequences for our health and environment if we are not careful or mindful of what we are consuming and how often we are consuming it.

Studies now show just how much diet impacts your mood and mental wellbeing. There’s no single super-food that boosts mood – it’s about having a varied, healthy diet. A varied, healthy diet improves your memory, concentration and can even increase your level of optimism and protect you from depression. In contrast, eating too many highly processed, fried foods or sugary food and drinks has been shown to increase the likelihood of anxiety and increase the risk of developing depression.

Our residents are provided with numerous opportunities and endless support to adjust their lifestyle and/ or diet if they choose to. We offer diabetes wellness coaching classes, programs like “Food for Mood,” food emergency preparedness, cooking classes, and other related health and wellness programming by partnering with organizations like Manna Food Bank, and of course… residents have numerous options to choose from the Go To Café’s menus.

Making more informed choices, being conscientious of where our food comes from, and how what we eat affects us will help us contribute positively to our environment, support our local community farmers, and make us feel better in our bodies.