Giant Food is sponsoring a Healthy Living Program for local and distant community members in the Congress Heights Wellness Space in the store on Alabama Avenue SE in Ward 8.  

The four-week course to wellness instructed by nutritionist Alexandra Brown, provides guidance and solutions to residents’ health needs, offering lessons on food and lifestyle, budgeting tips, health goals, and more.  Each week is dedicated to a specific focus; and provides an open dialogue allowing attendees to ask personal questions specific to their health goals and challenges.  

Brown and the Healthy Living team outline each session by shifting focus on their five pillars of wellness; nutrition, movement, physical health, mindfulness, and personal environment.  Nutrition Specialist and Giant’s Community Health Program Manager Leslie Jefferson is focused on providing attendees with applicable solutions to help remedy health concerns using resources already available in their communities. 

“We are nutritionists and dieticians, so our group of classes is health and wellness, specifically [centered] around foods.  So, we utilize things like [methods] for meal planning, we propose strategies for shopping, healthy eating on a budget, [and] compose strategies for mindfulness.  We try to give people tools that they can utilize when they get home that can hopefully relieve some of the overall stress that they may be feeling,” Jefferson said.

According to a D.C. Hunger Solutions report, “Still Minding The Grocery Gap In D.C.: A 2021 Update,” only three out of 75 full-service grocery stores across the District are located East of the River, with a fourth store, Good Food Markets, opening the same month of the report’s release in November.  The 4 Weeks to Wellness series fills a needed void in Ward 8, as East of the River residents still struggle to find viable food options in their community, while additionally managing emotional and mental stress consistently influencing their dietary choices.

Giant’s Healthy Living collective encourages introspection by highlighting residents’ relationships with food, and what inspires food choices, eating habits, and the overall physiology behind food and stress.  The first session 0n Sept. 13 kicked off the weekly Tuesday sessions from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., preceding several upcoming classes outside of this four-week course, including deeper instruction toward budgeting and seeking local available financial assistance.  

“Our hope is to provide people with the information that they need,” Jefferson explained. 

 “It’s great when we can give nutritional guidance and help give people assistance that works for them and their families.  It really [shows] how small changes can make a big difference” she continued.  

“If you change one or two things in your diet overall, or maybe your shopping habits, that can go a long way in shifting behavior and making change so people can be healthier, and financially stable.”

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