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August is ‘Kids Eat Right’ Month

By Maryam Funmilayo

Just recently, the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition (ADN), chose August as ‘Kids Eat Right’ month. The purpose of this month-long observation is to highlight the efforts of many people in various communities and organizations to battle child obesity and implement child-friendly healthy initiatives. In this respect, I will highlight a few important suggestions that faith communities may try, in order to improve the lives of children through healthy eating and physical activity.

Shop Smart – Give your children the opportunity to learn through experience as you shop together. Often, kids will move toward the sugar-dense food products on the shelves in the stores. Try to turn that into a learning moment, and educate your children on how to shop smart by reading food labels and knowing what ingredients are healthy or not.

Teach Them Young – Include your children in the kitchen work.  Learning how to prepare and cook healthy snacks and foods will pay off.  Just make sure that you or another adult stay with the child to make sure they follow appropriate safety measures – like washing their hands, staying away from hot surfaces, and avoiding sharp objects until they are old enough to learn to use them properly.

Walk the Talk and Eat Smart – For children to learn how to eat right, parents have to be role models first and foremost. Encouraging our young ones to eat right while we eat unhealthy foods is not going to be effective. Choose fewer sugary or salty foods and beverages, and include more fruits and vegetables in your meals. Children will eat what they are presented with. Instead of awarding them with candy for doing well in school, why not try raisins with low-fat vanilla yogurt?

Move More! – Just get moving! Play with your children and run around. This is family time well spent. Do some gardening together.  Make use of the beautiful parks ,and invite friends and neighbors so that your children can have playmates.  Use the walking trails in your faith community for walking exercises, or simply do some jump roping or hula hooping for heart health. According to the ADN, regular physical activity is important to strengthen muscles and bones. It also provides a healthy body weight, supports learning, and helps to develop social skills and build self-esteem. Children are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes per day.

Interested in learning more about the Kids Eat Right month? Visit

Maryam Funmilayo teaches Faithful Families classes to the adult female members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh.

Quick and easy sandwiches


Sandwiches are quick and easy to make, but can be high in calories if you’re not careful.  Substitute 2 T. fat-free yogurt for 2 T. mayonnaise on that sandwich and you save a whopping 167  calories and around 20g. of fat.  Check out these recipes below:

Open Faced Egg Salad Sandwich – Makes 4 open faced sandwiches


  • 7 eggs
  • ¼ C. low-fat plain yogurt (look for those with low sugar)
  • 2 tsp. mustard
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 4 slices whole grain bread

For face:  Egg slices, peas, bell pepper, pickles, and grated carrot or other vegetables you may have on hand.

Directions: In a medium saucepan, cover 7 eggs with water.  Bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Place eggs in bowl under cold running water until cool.  Peel eggs.

Slice 2 eggs with a knife.  Set aside 8 of the slices for eyes.  Place remaining egg slices in a bowl; add unsliced eggs.  Mash with a fork.  Add yogurt, mustard, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Cover 4 slices of bread with egg salad.

Make face using egg slices for the eyes topped with three peas each for the pupils.  Half a whole pickle or a pickle slice for the nose, a red bell pepper slice for the mouth and some grated carrot for the hair.  Use whatever you have on hand if you don’t have these ingredients.  Involve your kids and let them be creative!

Tuna or Chicken Salad Roll-ups


  • 1 small crisp apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 12-oz solid white tuna, packed on water OR chopped chicken
  • 2 stalks of celery, cut into 1/4 –inch pieces
  • ½ cup non-fat plain yogurt – look for varieties low in sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 4 whole-grain tortillas or other rollable bread such as flatbread
  • 6 slices cheese
  • 4 lettuce leaves

Directions: In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice until coated.  Add the tuna or chicken, celery, yogurt, salt and pepper and stir with a fork until mixture is combined.  Lay the tortilla on a plate and cover with cheese, followed by a lettuce leaf and top with the tuna or chicken salad.  Tightly roll the sandwich.  Use toothpicks if needed to hold the sandwich tightly closed.  Cut into halves or thirds for serving.

Note:  You can substitute any fruit for the apples such as pears, pineapple, raisins, grapes, etc.

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National Farmers’ Market Week – Join in the Effort!

By Maryam Funmilayo

National Farmers’ Market Week spans from August 3 to August 9. This is a great opportunity to learn more about local produce and home grown foods. More so, wouldn’t it be nice to get to know our hardworking local farmers who are working behind the scenes to bring these fresh foods to us?

I started shopping at the farmer’s market a few months ago after learning more about food sustainability, food systems, and locally grown foods. In addition, I had started becoming sick from some of the fruits I frequently bought from the store and because of this, I stopped eating them. But I knew I couldn’t shy away from my precious strawberries, apples, and grapes for a long time. These are some of my favorite fruits and I missed eating them.

When I decided to visit the farmer’s market for the first time early this year, I knew it was going to be the beginning of good things for me and my family. The first fruits I bought there were the ones I have missed eating for quite a long time – the same strawberries, apples, and grapes. I also bought red bell peppers and tomatoes. The fruits tasted so different! I didn’t feel sick like before, so I was able to keep on eating and savoring the flavors on my taste buds. Since then, I have continued to patronize the farmer’s market. I prefer to go during the week in the mornings. I also try to know what’s in season so that I can shop smart and spend my dollars wisely.

Below are my top 4 reasons why I like to shop at the farmer’s markets:

1) I feel good that I am contributing to food sustainability and supporting local farmers.

2) Having this sense of where my food comes from, and having this peace of mind that they do not contain unnecessary chemicals, makes me feel good.

3) Shopping at the farmer’s market affords me a great option to buy fruits and vegetables that I had to stop purchasing at the regular stores.

4) I am learning what is in season and what is not. Buying what is in season at the farmer’s markets helps you to save more money. In addition, the real taste of the produce is so natural and sweet! Try buying corn on the cob and you’ll be hooked ,just like me!

I am so happy that North Carolina is one of the states with the largest percentage of farmers’ markets. This makes me appreciate the hard work that our local farmers are doing. So, anytime you get a chance to buy fresh and locally grown foods or produce at any farmer’s market, show your appreciation with words. Say thank you to them and let them know how you enjoyed the produce you bought from them.

Maryam Funmilayo teaches the FFESMM classes to the female members at the Islamic Association of Raleigh. Her trips to the farmers’ markets are always met with pleasantries and satisfaction.


Buying blueberries at the farmer’s market

by Maryam Funmilayo

In the summer, there are a lot of food opportunities at the local farmer’s markets, such as learning more about what is in season and getting to know, taste, and enjoy the exotic fruits that the local farmers sell at the markets. Shopping at a farmer’s market helps to support local farmers, and it’s a great way to find locally grown fruits and vegetables at affordable prices.

When shopping for blueberries, pick the ones that are firm and plump with a dusty blue color. Look for berries that are similar in size, and do not pick the ones that look squishy.

After buying your blueberries, you can store them in the refrigerator for 10-14 days. Blueberries can be eaten in many different ways – alone or in yogurt, cereal, fruit salad, and more. Be creative!

Nutrition Information per 1/2 cup serving:
Total calories: 42
Total fat: 0.2g
Sodium: 1mg
Potassium: 57mg
Magnesium: 4mg
Folate: 4mcg
Total carbohydrate: 11g
Dietary fiber: 1.8g
Protein: 0.55g
%Daily Value (DV) Vitamin A: 0.8
%DV Vitamin C: 12
%DV Calcium: 0.4
%DV Iron: 1.2

Add a healthier crust to your pizza

Most of us already know what toppings to add to a pizza to make it healthier, but have you ever thought about the crust. To make healthier pizza crusts, try:

  • Whole-wheat flour. Forgo the traditional white-flour crust and make your whole wheat flour for some extra protein and a yummy, nutty flavor.
  • Thin sandwich bread. Take your favorite deli flat and swap the cold-cuts for your sauce and toppings of choice. (Just give the bread a little toast before topping to avoid any sogginess.)
  • Tortillas. Rice and beans aren’t the only ingredients that can top a tortilla. Make your own whole-wheat tortilla for a perfect thin-crust alternative.
  • Pita bread. Pita pockets are the perfect size for a personal pizza, and the whole wheat variety adds an extra nutritional kick.
  • English muffins. With all the nooks and crannies, an English muffin pizza crust can do no wrong. They toast up perfectly in the oven and are great for making mini-pizzas for a light lunch. (Or as a late night snack!)



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