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Expectant Veterans Learn Nutritious New Recipes

Tenneil Zielaskowski and Roxanna Byrnes
Members of the Womens Program Tenneil Zielaskowski; MA; RDN (left) and Roxanna Byrnes; MS; RDN. (right); assemble food items for the Battle Creek VA Medical Center Healthy Teaching Kitchen, a program offered to expectant Veterans this fall.

From the time of the first positive pregnancy test, through delivery and follow-up appointments, eligible Veterans receive full VA maternity care at their local clinic.

From the time of the first positive pregnancy test, through delivery and follow-up appointments, eligible Veterans receive full VA maternity care at their local clinic. Battle Creek VA now offers a fun new program for new or expectant mothers to learn about cooking healthier while socializing with other expectant Veterans.  Women’s Health Healthy Teaching Kitchen is a new program in which up to 20 participants will attend four virtual sessions on creating and cooking nutritious menus at home. 

“During these sessions, participants will be provided a cooler and a tote with all the items they will need, including pots, pans, spoons, small appliances, and different food items,” said, Heather Morgan, Women Veterans Program Manager. “Participants will work with our dieticians to create new meals during each session and will be able to serve these meals to their families at the end of the day.  This is a collaborative project with Women’s Health and Nutrition & Food Services and was funded through a National initiative for Women’s Health.”

Many new moms or moms-to-be, need to have quick, healthy meals for themselves as well as their children. Moms that are breastfeeding need to increase their caloric intake to help sustain their level of breast milk, and moms in general need support in coming up with ideas for quick and easy, but healthy meals for their families. Many moms are busy with the daily trials of being a mom and this would help them to take time to connect with others while completing a healthy meal-prep during that time.

As food prices rise, dining out options become more and more limited.   “By learning new ways of cooking healthy meals, these Veterans can realize that healthy meals do not take longer to make, as they expand their ideas about different foods and meals to prepare,” added Morgan.  “Newly pregnant moms up to those moms with toddlers can join the program, and 13 have already enrolled in the program, so slots are limited.” For more information about Women’s Health Healthy Teaching Kitchen and other Women Veterans Programs contact Ashley Cain at (269) 966-5600 ext.33462.

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