Food Day

By Maryanne Cai, Brandeis ’16, Healthy Waltham Intern

What is Food Day? Food Day, October 24, is a national celebration of eating real food and the advancement of better food policies. It is also a day to encourage every American to reflect on how to improve their own diets and food-related problems in their communities. To celebrate Food Day, many organizations across the nation host events ranging from school activities to community festivals. Last year, there were at least 4,700 Food Day events!

One of the reasons why Food Day was created is because of the dire consequences of the common American diet. This diet consists of consuming unhealthy levels of calories, sugar, meats, and fats. The common American diet can lead to many serious health consequences such as obesity, heart disease, and more. Plus, our environment is also severely affected when people over consume processed food! Eating real, healthy foods can not only help maintain good health, but also make our food system more sustainable. By celebrating Food Day, we are emphasizing the importance of living healthy and in a society where food sustainability is a must!

It’s easy to celebrate Food Day! Reflect on the positive things about your diet and think about any changes needed to improve your diet. We have a lot of great resources, like easy, healthy recipes and information about healthy eating. Check out our recipes here. You can also learn more about food sustainability and food-related issues such as food access by going on Food Day’s website. If you are interested in food sustainability and food-related issues, come to Healthy Waltham’s Healthy Food Access Forum on Oct. 22 at the Waltham Public Library, 6-8:30 PM! Healthy Waltham is holding this forum to discuss affordable access to healthy foods, food sustainability, and more! You can read more about it here. There are also lots of cool Food Day events happening in the Boston area. Check them all out here.

Food Day doesn’t have to be just one day. Let’s all work together on eating healthier and striving for a better food system every day!



Summer at McDevitt Middle School

by Abbie Doane-Simon, Northeastern ’16

This summer Healthy Waltham has been working at McDevitt to create something really special. For the past six weeks, Ms. Turkington and Ms. Bonnyman’s classes have be coming out to the garden to plant a plethora of veggies and herbs.

We started two gardens organized by square foot and the kids drew up some plans for what crops should be planted and where. Next thing we knew, seeds and seedlings were going in the ground. Then is was only a couple of weeks of dutiful watering and some minor weeding and we were seeing pole beans, the beginnings of corn, peppers galore, and some truly beautiful squash plants. Every Thursday, these kids would come out to the garden to check on their photosynthesizing charges and make sure they were well provisioned and not overcrowded.

Finally, at the end of our short six weeks, we gathered what crops were ready and made some celebratory whole wheat and low fat cheese pizza to commemorate a wonderful summer.

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to bring these kids into the natural world and teach them about where their food comes from and where it could come from: their own gardens and hard work.

Some of them brought home broccoli plants for their own gardens and some shared their experience with me in the interviews that make up a pretty cool video. Check out the video here. I learned that Alexse, Jaimie and Kevin share a favorite vegetable, carrots and Allison chose to plant corn because it reminds her of when she lived in Guatemala.

Ideally, come fall, the crops growing in these gardens will be able to make into school lunches, so these kids were really giving back to their school.


Collards with Coconut Recipe

Try some healthy local collards using this recipe from our Chef Reva! Lime and coconut make it different. Delicious cold, it serves approximately 6. We served samples of this dish at the Waltham Farmers’ Market recently.

 Ingredientscollards recipe

  • 3 Tablespoons shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 large bunch of collards, stems sliced very thinly and leaves chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of basil leaves, torn or chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • red pepper flakes, small pinch
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of half a lime


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast in oven until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
  2. Wash collards in several batches of cold water and let drain in a large colander.
  3. Heat a large pot over medium heat and melt coconut oil.
  4. Add garlic, salt and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add collards and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to wilt, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add basil, vinegar, soy sauce and black pepper and continue to cook a few minutes more until leaves and stems are crisp-tender.
  7. Stir in lime juice and serve collards warm or at room temperature, topped with toasted coconut.


1 cup per serving, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 55, Fat (g) 4

Saturated Fat (g) 3, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Carbohydrates (g) 4

Dietary Fiber (g) 2, Total Sugars (g) 1, Protein (g) 2, Sodium (mg) 263

Summer Teen Nutrition Class

by Yuki Wiland, Brandeis University ’15

This summer, Healthy Waltham teamed up with the Chill Zone, a hangout place for middle school kids at the Waltham Recreation Department, to continue our series of cooking and nutrition classes. Each class focused on a specific topic, such as MyPlate, and a recipe that models the day’s concept.

In the final class, Healthy Waltham’s Head Chef Reva and I worked with a group of boys to make mango salsa and no-bake granola bars. We wanted to make something naturally sweet without using heat. Summer is simply too hot to turn on the stove, and many snack foods are loaded with hidden (or not-so-hidden) sugar.

There were some groans when Reva announced that we would be making salsa and granola bars, but the kids seemed to have fun learning how to cut vegetables and adjusting the granola to their tastes. They were even pleasantly surprised how good the snacks were with only fresh vegetables and fruits. Not everyone liked what we made; however, they did try it, and that’s something.

It’s always an interesting experience to work with teens, and hopefully they will come in with more positive attitudes next time. Maybe we should bring in crazy looking new or exotic fruits and vegetables for them to try either out of curiosity or bravery. Ha ha! What if they just haven’t tasted their favorites yet?!

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Fruits of our labors – a yummy, healthy snack made with teens this summer at the Chill Zone Teen Program.

Summer Intern Speaks Out

Healthy Waltham has the pleasure of working with many interns during the summer, fall and spring semesters. Our interns have come most often from Brandeis, Bentley and Tufts Universities. One thing our interns have in common is the desire to connect with others and help improve lives in the Waltham community. Generally, they help with our programs related to healthy eating, community gardening and youth development, or special projects related to health, wellness and disease prevention. Many have gone on to work in health-related fields upon graduation. For information on interning at Healthy Waltham, or volunteering with us, please click here.

We were delighted to work this summer with Abbie Doane-Simon, a student at Northeastern University. She took a few minutes to reflect on her work with our organization.

It’s About Building Community – By Abbie Doane-Simon, Northeastern ’16

In my life, I haven’t had too many jobs so far, but there is one thing I have found to be true at every one. Regardless of the field, content, or nature of the work, the most important factor is the people. When I jibe with the people I work with, it makes all the difference.

Frankly, the people who work at Healthy Waltham are really great. They are here because they genuinely value healthy food and connecting people with healthy food. They value education and community growth and they definitely aren’t in it for the money. Being around these people has really inspired me to do what I love and surround myself with people who share that love. There were times when my position wasn’t always clear but I always wanted to be involved and part of the community this organization is building.

It’s not just Judy and the other employees here at Healthy Waltham that are so great. It’s the teachers and educators and kids in Waltham they work with. I spent an afternoon picking raspberries with three kids at Chesterbrook Housing Community and let me tell you, I have never seen anyone so excited about picking raspberries. At McDevitt Middle School, I had the opportunity to work with probably the proudest group of gardening math students in Waltham. Even just playing vegetable bingo with kids at the Chill Zone (Waltham Recreation Department’s Teen Center) was hilarious. Who knew stickers with healthy eating slogans and pictures of vegetables were such a hot commodity?

Generally, when I describe Healthy Waltham to friends I tell them “It’s an organization that manages a bunch of gardens at schools and stuff around Waltham and like teaches kids about gardening and eating healthy.” But Healthy Waltham is so much more. It is a growing community of passionate people who want to improve their town. And I think they just sprouted a new sapling.

Interns Abbie. Manny and Yuki at the Healthy Waltham table at the Farmers Market, Summer 2014

Interns Abbie. Manny and Yuki at the Healthy Waltham table at the Farmers Market, Summer 2014



Abbie chats with Healthy Waltham Executive Director Judy Fallows at the Farmers Market

Abbie chats with Healthy Waltham Executive Director Judy Fallows at the Farmers Market