Reigniting Wellness with Good Food for All in St. Louis, Missouri

Box of produce for Good Food for All Ellen from St. Louis is 79 years young and loves to stay active by visiting her local pool, playing games, and participating in line dancing. During the summer of 2022, she participated in a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) at the Emerson YMCA in Ferguson, Missouri, where Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), in collaboration with the Gateway Region YMCA, provided program participants with Good Food for All produce boxes.

The Good Food for All produce boxes were curated by a registered dietitian to support the diet of individuals aiming to manage pre-diabetes and were distributed weekly during the first 16 weeks of DPP classes. Participants also received a recipe booklet highlighting box contents.

The DPP program, coupled with PHA’s Good Food for All program, helped Ellen get back on track with healthy eating and made her more aware of what she was eating on a day-to-day basis. “You know what you’re supposed to eat, but when you have easy access to it, it makes it so much easier to start,” said Ellen.

Ellen’s DPP coaches, Nia and Dez, provided her and the other DPP participants with everything they needed to kickstart their healthy habits including scales, fitbits, emotional support, and PHA’s curated Good Food for All produce boxes, which included 20 lbs of fresh produce.

“Between the cabbage, sweet potatoes, blueberries, blackberries, and cucumbers, the colors in the box were just magnificent,” exclaimed Ellen. “The program helped me add color back to my plate!”

Having easy access to an abundance of fresh produce helped Ellen move away from snacking on sweets and desserts to snacking on vegetables and fruits instead. “The grapes were always so sweet!” said Ellen. “To keep my calories down, I would put grapes and lettuce in a freezer bag and nibble on those instead of unhealthy snacks.”

The program helped Ellen meet her health goals, eased the burden of having to go shop for food, and highlighted for her how to plan and prepare healthy meals. When asked about the program, Ellen put it simply “I loved it. It made me want to eat healthier and be more active. It reignited my health journey!”

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