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In Manchester, Neighbors Learn How To Eat Healthier At The Heart Of The Latino District

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Gabriela Lozada / NHPR
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Awilda Muniz teaches the class at Don Quijote.

This week at a restaurant in Manchester, members of the Latino community got lessons in nutritious cooking.

The Nutrition Connections Program, through the University of New Hampshire, teaches community members how to stretch their budgets at the supermarket and eat delicious and healthy meals.

Sandra Almonte, the owner of Don Quijote, welcomed participants in the Nutrition Connections Program to her restaurant. She thinks this kind of gathering makes a stronger and engaged community.

Both nationwide and in New Hampshire, people who are Latino have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almonte plans to pair up with UNH again to give members of the community who could not attend another opportunity to join.

“People are healthy not only for themselves or their families but for the community too,” said Awilda Muniz, the class's teacher and UNH's lead teacher at Youth and Family Nutrition Connections. She said the idea of learning something new makes people care more about themselves.

Patricia Sanabria works at a local church and attended one of the classes. Sanabria thinks these spaces are like an oasis to undocumented immigrants who usually don’t have health insurance or access to this information. “These are little changes that improve their lives,” she said.

Muniz, who gave the class in Spanish, showed the participants how to make a great meal every day, even if they use canned foods.

“You have to pour water into the fruits or vegetables in the can so the salt gets diluted,” she said, among other tips.

Organizers also promoted programs to help people with EBT cards afford fresh produce, like Double Up Food Bucks. Families can receive a 50% discount to buy fresh produce at a local market, located at 150 Spruce Street in Manchester.

People receiving any kind of low-income assistance are eligible to attend these nutrition classes. They're available in English and Spanish, as well as other languages as needed. For more information, you can write an email to Awilda.Muniz@unh.edu.

Updated: August 17, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
This headline was updated shortly after publication.
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