Celebrating National Nutrition Month

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? During this month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Administration for Community Living celebrates the National Senior Nutrition Program, a program that began in March of 1972 dedicated to healthy eating. At Age Well, we are committed to celebrating nutrition this month and every month!

Hunger Risk in Vermont

In 2020:

  • The older population of Vermont is 168,999 or 27% of the state’s total population making Vermont the 3rd oldest state in the nation.
  • 26% of Vermonters over 60 years of age live alone
  • 20,618 older Vermonters are threatened by hunger
  • There has been a 22% increase in meals delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 92% of Vermonters reported that Meals on Wheels helps them to maintain social distancing during COVID-19

How Age Well Provides Nutrition

Food is medicine and we provide both quality and therapeutic meals as a preventative measure.

“Eating a healthy and nutritious diet doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Age Well’s Nutrition and Wellness Director, Chris Moldovan, RD, CD, FAND, RD. “Before each meal or snack, think about your personal food choices. Choose foods that provide the key nutrients you need such as protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Try to limit or avoid those foods that have too many other nutrients such as sodium, fats, specifically saturated fats, and total calories, which could contribute to weight gain and lead to health conditions such as heart disease. Choose foods you enjoy and build a healthy plate with a variety of foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lower-fat dairy, and lean protein choices.”

For individuals who have trouble getting around or preparing their food, we deliver the meal to you through our Meals on Wheels program. All recipes are approved by a Registered Dietitian and meet Older Americans Act nutrition guidelines. Additionally, Age Well is proud to offer seven medically-tailored meal options including Heart Healthy, Diabetic Friendly, Lactose-Free, and Gluten-Free as well as texture modification to help people manage their chronic health conditions to those that demonstrate a need. The combination of proper nutrition, a safety check, and a friendly visit offers wrap-around support that enables seniors to remain healthier, independent, and at home, where they want to be.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, we served individuals in over 70 gathering places and restaurants throughout Northwestern Vermont, for those able to venture out. These gatherings provided an opportunity for individuals to stay connected to their community, and enjoy a prepared meal with friends and neighbors. We plan to continue with this program as soon as we can do so safely. To meet growing hunger in our state, Age Well has partnered with several community organizations to provide grab-and-go meals at central pick-up locations for clients in need.

“I am so thankful for events like this! In these times of isolation, driving to get a meal is such a pleasure!  I live alone with my pets, see no one, and pretty much stay inside, so I am most grateful for this drive-thru. Even if it’s fast, I love to see someone and be able to say thank you.” – Grab-and-Go meals client

April 2021 Grab-and-Go Locations:

Chittenden County

  • South Burlington – Wednesday, April 14th Spring Holiday Meal
  • Community Church of Huntington – Wednesday, April 14th Spring Holiday Meal
  • St Catherine’s of Siena, Shelburne – Tuesday, April 13th Spring Holiday Meal
  • Winooski Senior Center – Every Wednesday with the Spring Holiday Meal happening April 14th

Franklin County

  • Church of the Rock – St. Albans Friday, April 16th, Spring Holiday Meal
  • Highgate Library in Highgate Center – starting Thursday, April 1st, there will be a grab and go every Thursday, with our Spring Holiday Meal on April 15th

Addison County

  • Middlebury VFW – 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month
  • St Peters in Vergennes – Wednesday April 14th, Spring Holiday Meal

For more information, contact Jordan Anthony, Age Well’s Associate Director of Nutrition & Wellness, at [email protected] or 802-662-5225.

Choosing Healthy Meals on Your Own

Brigitte Harton, our Registered Dietitian and Wellness Coach is also available and excited to provide information on changing existing habits. She will provide tips on staying healthy and cooking up yummy, nutritious meals at home. “Sometimes it can be as simple as jazzing up your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce or canned soup by adding onions, peppers, canned beans, or any other veggies you may have on hand,” says Harton. “Venture out of your comfort zone and try something new and nutritious.” Contact Brigitte for more information: [email protected]

Age Well’s YouTube Nutrition Videos:

Federal Program Assistance Eligibility

We are here to help you learn what nutrition benefits you may be eligible for! 3SquaresVT, a Federal-funded program referred to nationally as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)., is dedicated to assisting low-income people and families by helping them buy the food they need.

Age Well’s 3SquaresVT Outreach Specialist, Isaac Kranz, is available to talk to those interested in learning more, and continues to do so safely during the pandemic. He provides twice-monthly 3SquaresVT online Q&A sessions. These live events occur on the first and third Tuesday of every month. These classes are free, they teach individuals about the program, and help them understand if they are eligible. E-mail Isaac to register: [email protected]

Staying Active

It is important to remember to not forget to stay active when focusing on your health and wellness. Find activities and exercises that improve balance, mobility, and strength. While there are no in-person classes at this time, Tai Chi Vermont is offering on-line Zoom classes to those interested in participating from home. Register for those classes here: https://www.taichivermont.org/zoom-info-and-events

If you are not sure where to begin, Age Well’s experts can provide tips for improving health, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you or a loved one need help accessing food or other services, please call our Helpline at 1-800-642-5119. Our trained staff can help see what benefits you may be eligible and much more.

More Nutrition Resources                     

3SquaresVT Flyer

Interview with Paula Fitzpatrick, Community Health Worker Team Lead at Age Well about 3SquaresVT

Hunger Free Vermont: COVID-19 and Food Access