Journey to a healthier you

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Everyone wants to live a healthy life. The ideal health for most is reached by eating nutritious meals to fuel the body and mind, while being balanced with enough physical activity to keep the body working properly. 

But where does one start? There seems to be an endless amount of questions to ask and information to gather before starting a journey to a healthier you. Luckily, for the Tulalip community, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and a team of health experts are here to help by offering a series of nutrition and cooking classes that are fun and interactive.

Eat Smart, Be Active classes will be taking place every Tuesday from now until July 31 at the Tulalip Dining Hall from 5:00pm – 6:30pm. If you are interested in learning more about whole foods, quality health, exercise, meal prepping, or cooking quick and healthy meals on a budget, then this is the perfect opportunity.

“Making healthy lifestyle changes is not an easy thing to do, but in the end the reward is so worth it!” stated AnneCherise Jensen, SNAP-Ed Nutritionist. “Eat Smart, Be Active classes really do give you an opportunity to learn, to ask questions, to discuss, and gain the tools you and your family need to live a happy, healthy, energetic life. Overall, these classes are very positive, energetic, and fun. We have a great preventative care team that truly cares about your health and wellbeing.”

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean dieting or giving up all the foods you love. During the opening class on Tuesday, June 5, the twenty-five health conscious participants learned about ditching junk food and give their bodies the nutrient-dense fuel it needs by making a meal together. The main course? A delicious chicken stir fry made with nine different flavorful vegetables. 

After learning a 15-minute aerobic exercise routine that can be done at the comfort of home, the community members received basic cooking instruction before gathering in the kitchen. There each participant had a job to do in order to make the evening’s meal. Finally, while enjoying the freshly prepared chicken stir fry, instructors reviewed all the nutrients being consumed and emphasized how simple the process had been.

“It was empowering as a community to get together and participate in a healthy, nutritious meal,” added AnneCherise after the evening class had ended. “There are so many amazing health benefits to making these small, gradual changes. You start to have more energy, you begin to feel more confident in yourself, you find yourself in better moods, and the more and more you do it – the more friends you will find to exchange recipes with and encourage each other along the way.”

If you missed out on the opening class, no worries. The invite is open to anyone who wishes to learn about healthier lifestyle choices when it comes to nutrition and physical activity. Come in to as many classes as you can, if not all of them.

Questions? Please contact AnneCherise Jensen, SNAP-Ed Nutritionist at 360-716-5632 or ajensen@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov OR Brooke Morrison, Tulalip Diabetes Prevention Assistant at 360-716-5617 or bmorrison@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

SNAP-Ed offers fun, interactive nutrition course to Tulalip community

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

When you see a class hosted by the Tulalip SNAP-Ed Program it’s safe to say you can expect a little fun and often times, some good eats. The program offers education about nutrition and the importance of exercise, encouraging community members to live healthier lifestyles. SNAP-Ed is known for their Tulalip Walking Club that meets each week to walk about the reservation and their Wellness Wednesdays classes, formerly held at the Tulalip Administration Building. Maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the activities or perhaps it’s the prizes, but whatever it is, the participants of a SNAP-Ed training have a good time, showcased by their many smiles and laughter. Which is why it’s no surprise that SNAP-Ed’s most recent endeavor is extremely popular.

If you haven’t heard of the Eat Smart, Be Active, Nutrition and Cooking course, you’re going to want to get in line for the next series of classes so you can experience the nine-week health journey in its entirety. Classes are currently held every Wednesday, until March 21, from 5:00 p.m. to approximately 6:30 p.m. at the Tulalip Dining Hall where the students are gaining much of knowledge about buying, preparing and consuming healthy meals.

Tribal communities nationwide face health issues such as diabetes and hypertension due largely in part to assimilation and a disconnect from traditional foods. Whether its lack of time or kitchen knowledge, many Americans end up hitting the drive-thru or placing an Uber Eats order at the end of the day.

The Eat Smart, Be Active course not only teaches participants how to cook, it also teaches how to meal plan, put together a budget-friendly grocery list, the nutritional value of foods and how to incorporate more veggies into your diet. The classes also include exercise breaks throughout the daily lesson plan, which the students enthusiastically participate in.

“There are four really important exercises that you need to know,” explains SNAP-Ed Nutritionist, AnneCherise Jensen. “You need to know muscle strengthening exercises, cardio, stretching or yoga and also bone strengthening exercises. Today we did a cardio pyramid which is a series of exercises to get our heart rate up, get fresh oxygen to the brain and wake us up a little bit.

“We’re all about promoting an active, healthy lifestyle. We’re trying to teach people different ways to prevent disease before it starts happening,” she continues. “I personally believe that it all starts with diet and exercise. Food is medicine. The food that we eat determines our health and our future; food affects our mood spiritually, mentally and physically. All good things come from eating good, healthy foods.”

After their daily nutritional lesson, the students enter the kitchen where they work together to prepare a meal. SNAP-Ed incorporates fresh ingredients with hand-picked produce and also raffles off reusable grocery bags filled with ingredients that the students can use to make recipes at home.

“I come to the classes to learn more about being healthy and being active,” states Tulalip tribal member, Tyler Fryberg. “I like everything in the class because it’s all useful. The exercises are fun. I enjoy cooking, it’s fun making new recipes. It’s just a really fun class.”

Fun might be the best way to describe the Eat Smart, Be Active course as Tyler’s views were shared by a group of co-workers from the Tulalip Resort Casino as well as numerous community members.

“These nine weeks focus on important areas where we can make changes in our life, to make a positive impact on our health and our overall well-being,” states AnneCherise. “There’s lots of one-on-one activities, everybody gets to cook, we learn new things and try new recipes. It’s a great program to get a fresh new start on a journey to a healthier you.”

For more information, including how to sign-up for the next course, please contact SNAP-Ed at (360) 716-5632.