Matilde lives in Arkansas with her teenage son and her mother. Matilde is concerned for her health, because she’s overweight and diabetes runs in her family. She and her mother have been trying to eat better and exercise, and recently began attending aerobics class three times a week.
After being laid off from her job last year, Matilde now makes ends meet with occasional housekeeping jobs. She receives benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) to buy food. Matilde usually goes grocery shopping once a month, visiting a few different stores to get the best price and quality.
Matilde describes herself as a careful budgeter, always comparing prices and writing a grocery list. “[Without the list] I just waste more money on other things,” she shares. Cooking Matters taught Matilde to compare foods for their healthfulness, as well as their cost. She now reads food labels and ingredient lists. In the grocery store, she checks the back of a package of bread, explaining “it says that the first ingredient is whole wheat.”
Choosing lean meats is another way Matilde is trying to improve her health. She buys chicken breasts for dinner tonight and has started swapping out lean ground turkey for fattier meats when she makes meatballs.
Portion size has been a lesson that stuck with Matilde from Cooking Matters, where she learned about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines and MyPlate icon. “We eat more balanced food,” Matilde says. “The big half of the plate has to be vegetables and the other half has the meat and rice or whatever.”
Matilde is trying to take care of herself and is on her way to a healthier lifestyle. “It’s not something that I’m doing 100%, but I’m doing my best,” she says.