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Growing Forward with Nutrition

In June 2022, Central Illinois Foodbank adopted a formal nutrition policy to guide ourselves and our partner agencies in procuring the most healthful food options possible. A plan to increase community engagement was put in place, and the Foodbank was excited for what the future would bring with health and nutrition at the forefront of everything.

Since then, Central Illinois Foodbank has made great strides growing forward with nutrition. Our mobile kitchen carts have provided hands-on education to our neighbors, with Illinois Extension and SIU School of Medicine cooking delicious and healthy recipes like banana berry ice cream, summer chili, and veggie pasta at community events.

Families have been engaging with the kitchen carts, talking with the nutritionists, enjoying samples, and asking for recipes. Children are also starting to get curious, with some even jumping in and cutting strawberries to help make some strawberry banana smoothies.

When asked about her hopes for the community, Director of Culinary Medicine, Dr. Stacy Sattovia,
MD, expressed how she believes doing cooking demonstrations at food distributions in the community creates awareness that will promote healthier habits: “We want people to be healthy and we want them to know that cooking in a healthy way can be quick.”

Friends of the Foodbank have joined us in taking nutrition, education, and accessibility further. With their generosity, we have purchased kitchenware for our community, including cutting boards, knives, stock pots, saucepans, frying pans, sauté pans, pot lids, spatulas, and tongs.

Having kitchenware and understanding how to use them are an important part of living a healthy and nutritious lifestyle. Beyond distributing food across our 21 counties, we want families to feel empowered to enjoy new, healthy foods with the proper tools and knowledge to do so.

As we support our community in receiving balanced and healthy food options, families can come to food distributions, grab some healthy food, participate in a cooking demonstration, and take kitchenware home with them. Beyond filling tummies, Central Illinois Foodbank will continue to develop creative solutions for food insecurity as we grow forward with nutrition.