Cheers for a healthier you in 2022 |  Faith and fellowship

Cheers for a healthier you in 2022 | Faith and fellowship

Nicole Sure-Leipski

Food is the ultimate unifier that brings us together with stories and laughter. We share this experience during the holidays, followed by the new year and continue to make healthier food choices, save money and be more physically active. As parents, we often make these decisions, but rarely put them into action because we are too busy taking care of others to find time to take care of ourselves.

The FoodWIse Nutrition Education Program, a collaborative education and outreach program between Racine County and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, offers a free series called “Eating Smart – Being Active” that unites parents of school-age children and offers a fun and supportive spaces where we discuss food and how we can put these New Year’s goals into action. Some common questions about the program are:

Q. What do I get out of “eating smart to be active”?

ONE. Participants will focus on MyPlate’s food groups and learn tasty, child-friendly recipes that are easy, inexpensive and healthy.

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Students also discover how to plan meals, shop strategically and save money on food, including how to use EBT at farmers markets in the area (some have double-dollar programs even in winter). Also covered is food safety and how to incorporate fun physical activity into families.

Extra bonus: Those who complete the series receive free cooking tools and a cookbook to reinforce what they have learned together through the series.

Q. Is this program personal or online, and for how long?

ONE. We recognize that everyone’s comfort level is different during the pandemic, so we offer the series in different ways: in person, live online via zoom and “mixed” (alternating personal / online meeting dates). Participants meet once a week and the series length varies from seven to nine dates depending on the format (personal, online, mixed).

Q. Does it cost anything and who can sign up?

ONE. The program is free for participants through funding from the USDA Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Grant. The grant requires that the participants are parents, foster parents or guardians of children aged 18 and younger whose household is entitled to one of the following: WIC, free or reduced lunch, FoodShare, disability or similar benefits.

Q. I am a daycare worker. Does this count in hours at The Registry?

ONE. Yes. Childcare providers who also meet the participant criteria above (parent / guardian of children aged 18 and under in their household) can take the series and earn hours for The Registry (9 if taken online or 11 if mixed). Childcare providers must complete the entire series in order to receive registration tuition hours free of charge.

Q. What have other students said about participating in the program?

ONE. Some of the comments we received from Racine and Kenosha’s parents are:

  • “I’ve saved four hours a week on shopping and $ 200 off my monthly grocery costs by using the tips from the Plan Shop Save session.”
  • “I am a borderline diabetic and I was finally able to cut out sodas with small daily changes. It was easier than I thought. “
  • “I did not know that I could spend my EBT on some farmers markets in the area, or that some have double dollar programs, even when the markets go indoors in the winter.”

ONE. Contact Nicole Sicuro-Leipski at or call 262-635-5393 to hear about the upcoming series. Representatives of schools, local agencies or other non-profit organizations serving families who would like to offer the series as a parenting program can contact Sicuro-Leipski for more information. It is offered in English and Spanish.

Nicole Sicuro-Leipski is the teaching coordinator for the UW-Madison Division of Extension, the FoodWIse program.


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