If you haven’t yet made good on your New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier, lose weight, and exercise, there’s still hope of reaching your goal. Concerted Services, Inc. is partnering with Coffee County Extension Service to bring Food Talk: Better U classes to Atkinson County.

Atkinson County Coordinator Rebecca Scott explains that CSI is offering the free nutrition and exercise education class now because May is Community Action Month. The motto of Community Action is “Helping People, Changing Lives,” and Scott thinks these classes fit the bill perfectly.

“We decided to celebrate Community Action Month by offering Food Talk: Better U with the hope that participants will learn to make healthy eating and exercise part of their daily lives, which will improve their overall quality of life,” Scott said.

As if that were not reason enough to sign up for the class, participants will receive incentive gifts for each session they attend. People who complete all four sessions will take home a beach ball (for exercises), a measuring cup, a water bottle, a resistance band (for gentle exercises), a pedometer, and a recipe book.

Among the topics Coffee Ext. Program Assistant Debbie Hendley will cover are food intake tracking and journaling, reading food labels (including how to spot red-flag ingredients like hidden sugar), making small dietary changes for big health gains, and finding solutions to common barriers to healthy lifestyle choices.

Lessons include engaging, interactive activities that equip participants with the knowledge and skills to make health behavior changes. For example, the instructor prepares the food, and class participants get to “taste and rate” the finished product.

Classes will also feature group exercise segments. All of the exercises will be low-impact, so everyone in the class can safely participate.

The 90-minute classes are free, and will be offered on the following Wednesdays: May 24 and 31, and June 7 and 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the 636 Austin Ave. East Extension Office in Pearson.

Food Talk: Better U is open to adults 18 and older. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. For additional information and to sign up for the program, call Rebecca Scott at 912- 422-3884. The Atkinson County CSI service center is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Food Talk: Better U healthy weight management curriculum was developed at the University of Georgia for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed).

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