Walking toward a healthier you

The grant cycle may be coming to an DSC_0314end but the life-changing habits formed continue on. We held a Kick-off Walk of our Fit-Trail system last weekend. Even through the raindrops we had participants using the system. The additions to the current walking path offer participants a full body workout while they make their way around the park. DSC_0325Hardyston Township did an amazing job installing the system throughout their Wheatsworth Park, which is now a featured park in Sussex County. For our Kick-off Walk we brought a trainer from the Y to help educate participants in proper technique as well as modifications for the different stations. Moms or dads waiting for their children at soccer/football practice, active adults meeting up or a quick workout during a lunch break. The flexibility of the system can suit all workout needs.

We have seen a lifestyle change in our CSA recipient families. When the fields were ready with fresh vegetables and produce our families were a bit apprehensive. They hadn’t ever seen Swiss chard, let alone know how to cook with it. The most they knew to do with a tomato was slice it but most were not big fans of the flavor. With the guidance from the Y and simple recipes to follow the families began learning how easy preparation could be with fresh produce. They have had an entire growing season to learn about different vegetables, mushrooms and other produce. The families find themselves shopping the outer aisles of the grocery store. Not afraid to pick up a fresh vegetable. They are now armed with the knowledge of preparation and the reward of eating healthy. HEART-FRUIT-AND-VEG-COMP_edit

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Keeping the heart healthy one meal at a time

HEART-FRUIT-AND-VEG-COMP_editThrough out this summer our families have been receiving some incredible produce from their CSA shares from Willow Brook Farms.   That is the easy part, unless you ask our farmer Karen, she may have a different thought. The next step for our families has been taking all the ingredients to creating simple meals that are not only flavorful but also packed with necessary vitamins and nutrients.

ChardOne super green our families have been enjoying each and every week is Swiss chard.   This vegetable has large green leaves (similar to spinach and kale) and vibrant colored stalks of red, white and yellow. For some, this vegetable is a new experience as it was for our CSA families.

Since this is a staple produce from Willow Brook Farms we had our families try a couple different recipes for Swiss chard. Find the recipe here. The families agreed, the sooner you cook the chard the better the flavor of the side. Either way, however, this is still a vegetable jam packed with phytonutrients, which have been found to even regulate blood pressure!

Our families were amazed how the food they choose to eat have such an impact on not only their body but their families as well. Finding simplicity in the preparation of fresh ingredients was important to all of our families. They all agree, once they found how simple it was to get a flavorful meal preparation was a snap.

Growing Our Way Toward Fitness

GEF-CSA-80The produce is in! The produce is in!! Willow Brook Farms has announced that the crop has come in and we will be distributing farm fresh produce for our three families. The fresh produce will allow our families to enjoy all the benefits of healthy eating while learning new ways to incorporate the vegetables into their meal planning. We are very excited for this kickoff to the Willow Brook Farms CSA and all the families have been invited to a reception this Saturday at the farm to meet with the farmers and see the inner workings of what it takes to get the produce to their tables.

Fit Trail 2 StretchWe are making strides in securing a Fit-Trail outdoor exercise system to be installed at Wheatsworth Park in collaboration with Hardyston Township. This exercise system contains instructional signs and exercise equipment designed for the novice wellness seeker or well conditioned athlete.   The exercises, done in a circuit, include a warm up and cool down section, which includes the distance walked or jogged between exercise stations.Fit trail1 Family

We also recently collaborated with the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce volunteering at their Off the Beaten Track 5K trail run and wellness event. This event brought runners over some of the beautiful trails of Sussex County. One goal of the event was to increase awareness of the many trails Sussex County has to offer.

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The seeds are planted!

We are getting very excited at Sussex County YMCA. Our ShapingNJ initiative is taking on quick shape. We are driving to make a real impact on the health and wellness, not only with Y members but the entire county of Sussex as well.

GEF-CSA-80We have confirmed our families who will be receiving the fresh produce from Willow Brook Farms. Our families will be visiting the farm in June to see how all of the amazing food is created from start to finish. Our families are looking forward to the opportunity to have such fresh ingredients to prepare meals with for their table. We will be supplying the families with helpful simple recipes to make the most out of their shares.

Sussex county YMCA is partnering with the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce as well as Rails to Trails in creating a guide to all the local walking paths within our beautiful county. This will help to educate county residents of all the opportunities right around the corner to walk/run on maintained paths.

We have also partnered with Hardyston Township to install a walking exercise circuit at the Hardyston Town Park. This will have multiple exercise stations for walkers/runners to add to participants workout.

Stepping Toward a Healthier Sussex County

Sussex County YMCA is not in it alone. We are working with many municipalities throughout the county as well as Newton Medical Center, a division of Atlantic Health, the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce and Sussex County Community College. With such support from around the County the Y is really looking forward to sharing the outcome from the ShapingNJ initiative.

Sussex County Walks

Sussex County covers 536 square miles and the YMCA has facilities in only one town. Our PaulTrailMappartners will promote the many places to walk safely throughout the county by creating promotional materials and launching Sussex County Walks. We will be highlighting all of the many walking paths available in our beautiful county.  In addition, we plan to enhance the walking paths in Hardyston Township with exercise stops. Through these efforts, the YMCA will expand the opportunities for residents of Sussex County to participate in physical activity.

Healthy Body & Healthy Heart

The Sussex County Board of Agriculture will helped to recruit Willow Brook Farm participate in the healthy eating GEF-CSA-80initiative. Willow Brook Farm has taken on an active role by creating helpful recipes for the fresh produce available to the participating families. Our families will not only feel the benefits of the produce they receive but also learn how to use the products most effectively.  Hello Spring!  So begins the field prep and planting!!