Our Nutrition Education Team is Growing! Meet Jenny

We’re thrilled to have Jenny in the Food Bank Family!

Hello!

My name is Jenny Ryan and I am the new Nutrition Education Coordinator here at the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. I am so excited to have joined Sara Clement (Nutrition Education Manager) and the Community Health and Engagement department to expand our nutrition education programs to our partner agencies and community.

My education background is in Public Health Education and I have a certification as a Health Education Specialist. I have 2 years of experience working previously at the Lowcountry Food Bank in South Carolina doing similar work in supporting partner agencies and clients with nutrition education.

I love that nutrition education can be a fun and empowering way to learn how to be a healthier you, regardless of current socioeconomic status or background. Food brings people together and fuels inclusivity. I am excited to be out with our clients to showcase easy, low-cost recipes through cooking demonstrations that we can hold pretty much anywhere! By travelling out into the 34 counties we serve with the use of our mobile kitchen kits, we can showcase different recipes, kitchen skills, and nutrition education to our community.

After one demonstration at Durham Tech’s Campus Harvest Food Pantry, lots of young moms were excited that their kids could help in the kitchen and then eat the dish, even though there were vegetables and beans in the recipe.

The cycle of hunger showcases the detrimental role hunger plays in the management of disease, work/school attendance, and overall household budget management. I am passionate about our team and our goal to help our neighbors in need learn healthy habits that work into their current lifestyle, to make positive and sustainable behavior changes.

It is our hope that after learning how to make a new dish, clients feel empowered and confident to recreate the recipe in their own home. Along with demonstrations, you may find me doing tastings of new foods or new recipes. Tastings are a great way to introduce new foods without the worry of wasting your monthly food dollars to try something new. We are working not to make certain food the “bad guys”, but rather working to support our agencies and clients in creating and sustaining good nutrition throughout the day.

Healthy eating doesn’t mean that food must be labor intensive, elaborate, or expensive. Healthy choices can be fast, small, low cost changes. Learning new ways to cut, cook, and pair different foods increase the likelihood that clients will feel empowered to select healthy items that are available to them, regardless of where they shop or receive food. Small changes in the right direction can have a huge impact on health and overall wellbeing.

-Jenny Ryan, CHES


Nutrition Education can be fun!