Better Living for Texans: Creating opportunities, changing lives – In McLennan County!
By Lindsey Breunig
About a year ago we highlighted the Better Living for Texans program, and today we are returning to give you program updates and highlights! (Don’t worry, next month we will back to our regularly scheduled green veggie recipes!) Better Living for Texans (BLT) is a statewide nutrition education program within the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (Texas A&M AgriLife). The program is for adults and children that are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and/or SNAP eligible.
Statistics show that 1 out of 6 Texans struggle with food insecurity, hunger, and eat less than the daily recommended allowance of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, Texas children and adults are less physically active than recommended. McLennan County is no exception and it is critical that we change these statistics in a positive direction.
BLT’s focus is to teach people how to prepare healthy meals, improve their physical fitness, save money at the grocery store, grow their own foods, and adopt better food safety habits. We provide facts and not the latest trends. BLT is here to empower individuals, families, and communities to make positive changes for healthier lives on limited resources.
Program delivery varies between location and audience. You may see BLT programming at health fairs, community centers, food pantries, or church events! Additionally, groups or participants may request for programs with a group they know or work with. From there we can choose from several available curriculums and tailor the program to fit the audience needs. If there is an interest in health and wellness, we are there!
At our programs we want healthy eating to be practical and attainable to everyone. We are here to challenge the notion that “it’s too expensive to eat healthy.” We are excited to also offer a curriculum specifically for seniors where we discuss steps to remain independent by choosing healthy diets and staying physically active.
If you want to focus on physical activity, we have fitness programs that encourage individuals to find their favorite activity and get moving. For example, we offer “Walk and Talks” that combine walking and learning. We also coordinate “Walk Across Texas” an eight week program that encourages teams made of family, friends, and coworkers to log their exercise with the goal to walk across Texas.
Maybe you have always wanted to garden, but you don’t know how to get started. Our gardening curriculum begins at the basics. Education includes how to select a garden location, how to compost, plant and water, and control insects. Participants learn how to grow fruits and vegetables and learn how to cook with produce grown from their own garden. The BLT program relies on the knowledge from the numerous Master Gardeners (another Texas A&M AgriLife program!) here in Waco. They are a great resource for learning how to grow fruits and vegetables!
Overall BLT is here to make health attainable and practical for all. This is done through providing research and evidence-based nutrition, health and wellness knowledge to empower individuals, families, and communities to make positive changes for healthier lives. BLT creates opportunities, and changes lives.
If you are interested or want to know more about the Better Living for Texans program here in McLennan County, please do not hesitate to reach out, and ask. We would love to get involved with your group or organization!
You can call the County Extension office and ask for Lindsey at: 254-757-5180 or directly email [email protected].
Lindsey Breunig is a graduate of Baylor University and currently works as the Better Living for Texans Educator for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She is originally from Grapevine, TX and now calls Waco home. Here in Waco she loves to venture out to Cameron Park, visit the local Farmers Market, and try out the awesome eateries in Waco. If you see her and hear a loud bark, that’s her pup Lucy just saying hello.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP. To learn more about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or to apply for benefits, visit www.yourtexasbenefits.com
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.