Greater Newark Conservancy’s Nutrition Education Program
After being diagnosed with diabetes, Angel Nieves needed the tools to lead a healthier lifestyle. He found them in the Greater Newark Conservancy’s Nutrition Education Program.
When he was diagnosed with diabetes, Angel Nieves knew he needed to change his lifestyle and eat healthier. He didn’t exercise, ate mostly fast food and processed foods, and was on medicines that left him too tired to spend quality time with his 5-year-old daughter Natalia.
He enrolled in the nutrition classes at the Greater Newark Conservancy. He and Natalia have become regulars at the Conservancy’s Nutrition Education Program. The benefits are tangible. He feels better, eats better and now has the energy to keep up with her. She joins him at every class.
Since getting involved in the Program, Angel’s diabetes symptoms have greatly improved. The Conservancy staff has taught him about the importance of a healthy diet and shown him how to take control of what he eats from start to finish. They’ve taught him to grow and harvest fruits and vegetables and to prepare flavorful, healthy recipes that he and Natalia look forward to making and eating together.
“I am feeling great, and I take pride in eating healthy and feeling better than I have in years,” says Angel, who used to steer clear of greens because he didn’t think they’d taste good. His favorite recipes now have lots of vegetables and put a healthy spin on foods that are usually not so healthy, like pizza. His veggie pizza from scratch is one of Natalia’s favorites.
In line with its mission to support organizations that make New Jersey healthier, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey gave The Greater Newark Conservancy a $40,000 grant. It supports nutrition awareness education for schoolchildren, parents, senior citizens and teachers in the Newark area. The program includes nutritional cooking workshops, lessons on healthy eating and gardening. The goal is to promote good eating habits and an overall healthy lifestyle to reduce obesity and chronic illnesses, like heart disease and diabetes.
Angel and Natalia enjoy the beautiful, sprawling grounds of the Conservancy, which have all kinds of flowers, fruits, vegetables, birds and butterflies. Together, he and his daughter garden, and they harvest fruits and vegetables they use as fresh ingredients in class.
Angel’s diabetes is under control, and he doesn’t need to take medicine anymore. He’s grateful to share this experience with his daughter and that she’s learning at a young age how to make healthy choices. He plans a healthy future for them both, by continuing the cooking lessons and enrolling in summer gardening and harvesting classes.
“The Greater Newark Conservancy is a hidden gem in Newark,” Angel says. “I have really enjoyed being able to achieve so many goals by taking better care of myself, and attending their programs with my daughter by my side.”