Changing lives through better nutrition

UnidosUS program helps our community make smart food choices for lifelong health

By Kathy Mimberg, Communications Manager

Alberto Paredes is a retired resident of Riverside County, California, as well as an active member of our Affiliate TODEC Legal Center. He first became involved in TODEC about two years ago when he signed up to take English and computer classes at their headquarters in Perris. At TODEC, he’s also learned about nutrition, attending charlas (nutrition classes) on how to read nutrition labels, visualize appropriate portion sizes, incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables into every meal, and more.

Start today!: Try these healthy food recipes at home

Comprando Rico y Sano - UnidosUS

With a big smile, he shares that it was “la maestra Marilú,” his English teacher, who persuaded him to attend his first charla. Knowing that Alberto lives alone—having lost his wife just six months earlier—she wanted to make sure he has the information to eat well, and can enjoy the companionship of other community members who attend the sessions.

Alberto’s English teacher Marilú is also a promotora de salud, a community health worker who is affiliated with the Comprando Rico y Sano program created by the UnidosUS Institute for Hispanic Health. The program offers charlas, grocery store tours, and cooking demonstrations. Participants learn how to shop for and prepare healthy meals on a budget. They can also get help enrolling in resources aimed at alleviating hunger, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if they’re eligible.

Alberto credits the Comprando Rico y Sano program for teaching him about nutritious food and helping him be healthier. “Every day now, I’m cooking,” Alberto says. “I try to eat well. I have made many changes at home—fruit, vegetables, fish. This is what I try to eat every day. I used to eat different food before I participated in this program.” He says his breakfast now often includes spinach and fresh juice.

While Alberto knew how to cook before he began the program, this is the first time he’s had the sole responsibility to make sure there’s healthy food available in the house every day. His daughter and his three grandchildren live far away, and adjusting to living on his own has been made easier by taking classes in a welcoming and friendly place where he can enjoy spending time with other people.

Video: Find out more about Comprando Rico y Sano

We hear stories like this from our Affiliates across the country that are implementing Comprando Rico y Sano. Through this program, individuals enjoy discussing food, sharing tips, and learning from the promotores and one another in a comfortable setting and often in Spanish, their preferred language.

We are proud of our promotores and their hard work in motivating members of their local communities to make behavioral changes and focus on their health. It often becomes a group project, and we hear about walking groups and community gardens being started by people who met through Comprando Rico y Sano. Alberto is one of many people who have learned that eating well, engaging in physical activity, and spending time with friends is an excellent path to good health.

Comprando Rico y Sano is possible thanks to support from the Walmart Foundation.