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Back to Our Roots: Healthy Alternatives Using Traditional Foods & Flavors

 Left to Right: Chef Rody Manousakis, Candy Murias, LMSW

Left to Right: Chef Rody Manousakis, Candy Murias, LMSW

On Thursday, March 31st, Ann’s Place’s Health Equity Initiative program held a lively and educational food demonstration at the Danbury Library in collaboration with Danbury Library and the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury. The event titled “Back to our Roots: Healthy Alternatives using traditional foods and flavors” was organized by Ann’s Place clinician Candy Murias, LMSW, Chef Rody Manousakis, and Maryellen DeJong of the Danbury Library.

During the program, Ann’s Place volunteer, Chef Rody, demonstrated how to make everyday meals healthier and how to enhance delicious flavors in our foods using only natural ingredients. She explained how many of the condiments used in Latin cuisine, such as Adobo and Sazon, have unhealthy levels of salt.  As an alternative, she encouraged the participants to use natural dry spices to obtain even better flavors than less healthy prepared condiments.  Chef Rody also explained how to make chicken soup from scratch and prepare rice with kale.  She suggested healthier alternatives to drinking sodas and juice, which are often filled with sugar, and emphasized the importance of a balanced diet to our health.

The event was well received and attended, with 32 participants and a wait-list exceeding 15 people.  Ann’s Place clinician Candy Murias is currently working with Chef Rody to organize a ‘Part 2’ of the program that will focus on how to prepare healthy (or healthier) desserts.  This event will take place at Ann’s Place in late April or early May.

Ann’s Place is thankful to Maryellen DeJong and the Danbury Library for providing Ann’s Place with the space and the support to hold such an event.  We also are very thankful to Chef Rody for organizing and leading such a wonderful food demonstration!

Earlier Event: March 30
Kripalu Yoga with Rochelle
Later Event: March 31
Healthy Steps