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Lunch N Learn program returns to Jessamine County

Jessamine County Family and Consumer Science will begin its 10-month program again this month focusing on helping families become healthier and more financially secure.

The Lunch N Learn series is free and meets at noon on the last Wednesday of each month at the Extension Office, located at 95 Park Drive. Although there is no cost to attend, RSVP is required so an accurate number of food samples can be made.

During each session, attendees will be able to sample a recipe from the 2018 SNAP Education Calendar and learn about the nutrition of the recipe. Although the program follows SNAP education, those who attend do not have to be a participant in the SNAP program. Each participant will also receive a copy of the education calendar and the course will run through October.

Karli Jessie, a county agent for family consumer sciences, said the course works well for people to attend on their lunch breaks and not have to commit to an appointment after work.

“This program is beneficial to do at lunchtime because you get information quickly. You don’t have to commit to after work. You take one hour out of your day so that you can go back and resume your day,” Jessie said. “What we are doing different this year is we are following the curriculum of Small Step to Health and Wealth and how to secure financial stability when grocery shopping.”

Jessie said, by learning how to cook from home, she believes families can save more than when they choose to eat out or by buying frozen foods that can actually cost more. Last year, Jessie said attendance for each session was between 10 to 20 people and she expects the same turn out this year. Although the program only runs through October, Jessie said steps have been made to ensure every month of the calendar is represented at the sessions.

“We will be able to taste all recipes,” Jessie said. “The recipes for November and December are paired with other months. I expect to see some of the same people as last year. Previously we talked about different nutrition and to give a little more to the program we wanted to talk about financial stability. I think one of the easiest ways we can do that is through the grocery bill. That is something that we have control of.”

Randy Gooch, Jessamine County Health Director, said educational offerings such as the Lunch N Learn series at the extension office are great opportunities for the community to engage in their health. He said it gives individuals tools necessary to their maximum health potential.

“According to the most recent statistics we shared in our Community Health Assessment Forums, Jessamine County’s adult prevalence of obesity is almost 34 percent, and only 9 percent of adults get the recommended fruit and vegetable intake. Along with over 30 percent of adults getting no exercise and the adult prevalence of smoking being over 21 percent,” Gooch said.

“These are all factors that lead to our leading causes of death in Jessamine County which are cardiovascular disease and cancers. Much of these issues are related to an uneducated population in regards to the type of nutritious eating and physical behaviors that will lead to a healthier physical and mental state of wellbeing.”

For more information on the Lunch N Learn series, call the Jessamine County Extension Office at 859-885-4811. For more information on related health topics, visit jessaminehealth.org.