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The Healthy Choice the Easy Choice at The Palms Inn

Oct 30, 2018

SNAP-Ed staff at Catholic Charities Santa Rosa (CCSR) is helping to make the healthy choice the easy choice at The Palms Inn!

The Palms Inn is a Permanent Supportive Housing residence. Several facets combine to make it a healthy environment, including: 

  • On-site garden
  • Cooking demos
  • Nutrition workshops
  • On-site food distribution of fresh produce and healthy pantry items 
garden in front of apartment building

Jose is one of the residents at The Palms Inn. He was living in a temporary shelter before a space opened at Catholic Charities Palms Inn Permanent Supportive Housing. Jose regularly participates in the weekly food distributions as well as the bi-weekly nutrition education workshops. In an informal interview with staff, Jose shared some of the changes he has made since moving into the Palms Inn and participating in SNAP-Ed activities: 

  • I have reduced my consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. From 3 – 12 packs of soda per week, I now drink 1 glass of O.J. or cranberry juice per week and water only. 
  • I put 1 tsp. of sugar in my coffee instead of almost ¼ cup of sugar. 
  • I stopped eating fatty foods. Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat like carnitas tacos and French fries. 
  • I eat steak tacos and more vegetables. I put half my plate of vegetables where before it was just meat and tortillas.
  • I eat more vegetables because I tried vegetables like broccoli through the food samples. Also I tried different forms of protein like beans and black eyed peas, and enjoyed the black-eyed pea coconut stew. 
  • I make sure I eat a rainbow of vegetables throughout my week. 
  • I slowed down on junk food especially chips, from 3 big bags of chips per week to 1 bag every 2 weeks. No more candy bars. None at all. 
  • I feel much better now that I eat healthier and have lost significant amount of weight which feels better.
jose with vegetables
Juan Torres promotes healthy eating at our Food Distribution at the Palms Inn - a permanent supportive housing site for veterans and previously chronically homeless individuals.

Jose isn’t the only resident making healthy changes. Pre-post evaluation (using the Food Smarts evaluation instrument) of 50 participants has shown a significant:

  • Increase in eating fruits and vegetables
  • Increased use of MyPlate to make food choices
  • Increase in using unit price when shopping for food
  • Increase use of separate cutting boards for ready to eat foods and raw meats
  • Decrease in eating fast food

In addition, nearly 100% of participants stated that they gained knowledge on how to be healthier and nearly 100% of participants have made at least one healthy change since participating in SNAP-Ed activities.

At the Palms Inn, the garden is maintained in part by residents and benefits up to 140 low income adults and older adults.  Residents attending the nutrition education classes also received Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes from a local farm. The nutrition education workshops feature the Food Smarts curriculum as well as food samples that highlight foods that are distributed that week.  Combining access to healthy food with nutrition education helps people living at The Palms Inn to cook food they received in a healthy way.

This article was submitted by Catholic Charities of California, a SNAP-Ed Agency. For more information, please contact Elisa Pehlke