Observe National Food Day with MANNA

Although the month of October may be most notably known for apple picking, pumpkin carving, and Halloween candy, it is also the time to celebrate and plan for a greener, healthier lifestyle on National Food Day. This annual event held every October 24th observes the importance of eating healthy, real food and brings light to food politics.

Food Day was created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), but it is powered by a diverse coalition of food movement leaders and organizations. The slogan “Eat Real” was adopted to encompass affordable food, tasty whole ingredients, and provide essential nutrients for overall health. Join the 2016 campaign with MANNA to reduce nutritional risks at a local, state, and national level.

How to “Eat Real”:

  • Maintain a healthier diet with less trans fat, added sugar, and an excess of calories.
  • Visit a sustainable and local farm.
  • Plant your own garden.
  • Reduce hunger through government aid like the SNAP program.
  • Advocate for a food/nutrition policy in the community.
  • Attend a “Cooking Matters” class at the local grocery store.
  • Support and share information on social media.

Why Get Involved? A diet poor in nutrient-rich foods can lead to diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular events. It is vital to promote a healthier lifestyle to decrease your risk!  This month, it is time to inspire diet change and improve our food policies by buying local, caring for the environment, and solving food-related problems. National Food day can be accomplished by anyone anytime of the year. Join in on the efforts towards eating a healthier, more sustainable diet! Learn more at www.foodday.org




voting advocacy

MANNA’s Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, Adrian Glass is working hard on an advocacy initiative to get more of our clients and volunteers voting in the general election. In an effort to get our clients registered to vote, Adrian is sending out fliers and registration forms with our drivers that explain the process and the benefits of voting. There will also be an absentee ballot application in case they are unable to make it to their polling location on Election Day (November 8). Adrian is encouraging our volunteers to vote when they enter MANNA too with the same resources. We are aiming to eliminate any potential barriers our clients or volunteers may face in exercising their right to vote!

Why should you vote? Voting is one of our most important rights as citizens. Communities that vote get more attention from office holders. Our children, and anyone under 18 years old, depend on us to represent their voices as well. Voting is easy and even if you cannot make it to your polling place, you can mail an absentee ballot instead. MANNA and our clients rely on support from the local and state government so it is essential that we make our voices heard!

If you are not already registered to vote, or if any of your information has changed, you can register online HERE if you have a PA Drivers License. The last day to register in time for the general election is October 11.




National Cholesterol Education Month

Summer is winding down and students are on their way back to school. What a perfect time to reevaluate our health and start educating ourselves about cholesterol. More than 102 million American Adults (20 years or older) have total cholesterol levels at or above 200 mg/dL, which is above healthy levels. More than 35 million of these people have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher, which puts them at high risk for heart disease. Too much cholesterol in our blood can lead to serious conditions including heart disease and stroke. Why? Cholesterol blocks the flow of blood to our heart. We encourage everyone to make an effort to protect your arteries and heart this month and every month.

Step one: To prevent/detect high cholesterol, one must be screened. Ask your doctor to do a blood test to find out your cholesterol levels.  Ideally, aim for total cholesterol less than 200mg/dl.

Step two: Next, educate yourself! There are two different kinds of cholesterol. Good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL).  To decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, we want to decrease the bad cholesterol in our diet. Good cholesterol, helps protect against heart disease and we want this number to be higher than 40 mg/dl, but ideally above 60 mg/dl.

Prevent High Cholesterol with These Lifestyle Changes

  • Decrease saturated fats in your diet {butter, whole milk, red meat, solid fats}
  • Choose healthy fats {fish, nuts, olive oil}
  • Get some fiber {fruits, vegetables, beans & whole grains}
  • Exercise {aim to exercise for 30 minutes five times a week}
  • Reduce sodium intake {aim for less than 2300 mg sodium a day}
  • Avoid smoking
  • Get screened annually {aim to have your total cholesterol less the 200 mg/dl}
  • Eat whole, unprocessed foods whenever available



Easy & tasty swaps to help lower cholesterol

Low fat plain or Greek yogurt for sour cream

Avocados to replace mayo on sandwiches

Hummus instead of cheese/milk based dips

Lean ground turkey instead of ground beef

Herbs and spices instead of table salt

Olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice instead of store bought salad dressing

Plain (unsalted, unbuttered) popcorn vs potato chips


Interested in some great recipes that are low in cholesterol? Check them out here!




Blog by MANNA’s Nutrition Department and Julie Lichtman