Who doesn’t like free samples?
Through collaboration between the Shining Mountain Diabetes Program, Southern Ute Food Distribution and SunUte Community Center the Ignacio community can now look forward to free healthy food tastings every month.
This last Wednesday’s Food Tasting event provided healthy samples, recipes and groceries to over 30 people – the first 30 people to show up received a free bag of groceries.
On Wednesday’s menu was a recipe right out of the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Cookbook, Citrus Chicken/Tuna Melts. Participants were able to taste test both the tuna and chicken alternatives and decide which they like better.
“We are doing these tastings to promote community wellness,” Kimberly Heintzman, Health Services Dietician, said. “It’s also a good way to promote Food Distribution as well, by demonstrating the types of foods they offer and letting people know they can be used in a healthy way.”
The recipes also provide gluten-free, diabetes and renal friendly substitutes, she said.
Jeremy Cuthair, Southern Ute Food Distribution Program Manager, said he joined in on the collaboration because all the programs share a common goal for the community, promoting healthy lifestyles.
According to Cuthair, he thinks Food Distribution has a negative stigma attached to it and he wants to change that. Ingredients for Wednesday’s recipe included food from Food Distribution. Southern Ute Food Distribution services are available to all Ignacio community members, not just tribal members, he said.
“We are here for the community, we just want to help create a healthier community,” he said. “Don’t be embarrassed to come see us, we are here to help.”
Tribal Services Director, Loren Sekayumptewa spoke to those in attendance and really hammered home the importance of making healthy changes now, before it’s too late.
“Too many of us look back and think we should’ve made different choices earlier in life,” he said. “It’s what we eat that impacts us and make us who we are.”
Tribal Councilman Tyson Thompson also showed up to the event to show his support for healthy eating in the community.
“I think this is awesome what you are all doing,” he said. “Staying healthy is all about good nutrition and exercise.”
The community can look forward to these free tastings every month. No date has been set for next month’s tasting, but the menu will feature Garden Pasta Salad.