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The Carolina Hunger Initiative is a new project at UNC working in collaboration with No Kid Hungry NC. Learn more here.

Carolina Hunger Initiative
Nutrition Newsletter

April 2021
Click Here for PDF Version to Share with Families

Don't Miss FREE, Online Cooking Matters Classes!

  • Cooking Matters @ Home: 
    • When: Wednesdays at 7:00pm EST - April 21st and April 28th 
    • Where: Zoom 
    • What: Classes that share information about buying healthy, affordable foods that families can prepare and eat together at home. 
    • Who: Anybody can join at any point in time during the 6-week course, we still have 2 classes left in April! 
    • For more information and to register visit:

Happy Earth Day! 

April 22nd is Earth Day! Earth Day is a day to spread awareness about environmental issues. There are many environmental impacts associated with the production, transportation, and storing of our food. The average U.S. household wastes 31.9% of their food. Food waste creates methane emissions in landfills, contributes to our carbon footprint, and is just one way our diets are related to environmental outcomes. Reducing your food waste helps the planet and can also help your wallet. The average family of 4 throws away $1,365 to $2,275 annually on food alone. This newsletter includes tips and habits that can help promote a happy, healthy planet.
Sustainability Spotlight
  • Reduce food waste: One of the easiest and best ways to reduce food waste is to not create it in the first place! Planning meals, properly storing, and composting are all easy ways you can reduce your food waste.
    • Plan ahead: Make a menu for the week and only buy what you need at the grocery store, this saves you money and prevents you from having to throw away excess food. Learn more here.
    • Compost: Instead of sending food scraps to the landfill, try composting. This creates nutritious soil for food to grow in! Learn more here.
    • Storage: Fruits and vegetables usually keep for about a week in your refrigerator, but different foods will stay fresh for different amounts of time, so try checking the FoodKeeper app to make sure you are getting the most out of your foods!
    • If you think you aren’t going to use a food item within the week, try freezing it, that way it will stay good and you can use it later!
  • Meatless Mondays: Highlight plant-based proteins and reduce meat consumption one day a week.
    • Eating meatless for just one day per week can save the lives of up to 29 animals, reduces your carbon footprint, and helps you to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet.
    • These days are an opportunity to incorporate more vegetables in your diet and can even save you money since vegetarian proteins (like beans) are usually less expensive!
    • Keep scrolling for an easy and delicious meatless recipe!

Recipe of the Month: Southwest Baked Potatoes 

Makes: 2 Servings (Can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd!)

Ingredient List: 

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes (or white potatoes)
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans rinsed
  • 1 medium tomato diced (or one small can low sodium diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp olive oil/vegetable oil of choice
  • Optional toppings: 1/4 tsp salt, sour cream or plain yogurt, scallions, cilantro


  1. Pierce potatoes in several places with a fork.
  2. Microwave potatoes on high 12-15 minutes, order until tender.
  3. In microwave-safe bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, oil, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Slice each potato down the middle. Press open, making a well in the center.
  5. Spoon the bean mixture into middle of each potato.
  6. If desired, top with sour cream/yogurt, scallions, or cilantro​.

This recipe is great because many of us already have potatoes and beans in our pantry! Beans are a great source of vegetarian protein because they offer additional fiber, are inexpensive, and can be bought on-sale and kept in your pantry for long periods of time. Trying mixing up this recipe with different variations of potatoes and other veggie toppings!

Be sure to tag us on Instagram or Facebook and share which vegetables you chose for this recipe!
More Resources: 
  • Help your families find local farmers markets, on-farm markets and CSAs with this Farmers Market Finder from the USDA:
  • Interested in how your food choices impact the environment? Check out these resources:
  • USDA Introduces the New Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition:
    • USDA's Team Nutrition announced the launch of the Culinary Institute of Child Nutrition (CICN), a new division of the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) that provides school nutrition professionals with in-depth, hands-on culinary training and resources that are foundational for scratch-based cooking and the creation of culinary-inspired school meals that are healthy, flavorful, and student-approved! Learn more here.
  • Cooking Demo Videos from NC Child Hunger Leaders:
    • For the 2021 NC Child Hunger Leaders Conference, Carolina Hunger Initiative asked 7 different organizations to make original cooking demos. The chefs, organizations, and their recipes represent a wide variety of connections to fighting child hunger in North Carolina. Some dishes are a perfect for the USDA guidelines that meal sponsors must follow as a part of the federally-supported child nutrition programs. Others feature working chefs from restaurants in North Carolina that support schools and community organizations in their work to feed kids, partnerships that are more important now than ever. Watch them here.
  • Nutrition Education Games, Handouts, Recipes, and More:
    • The Carolina Hunger Initiative site has tons of original online games, recipe videos, activity sheets, educational handouts, and more for your nutrition education planning. Check it out here.
Click Here for PDF Version to Share with Families
Information for this newsletter was sourced from:
About the Carolina Hunger Initiative

The Carolina Hunger Initiative is a new project at the University of North Carolina working in collaboration with No Kid Hungry North Carolina, part of Share Our Strength’s national No Kid Hungry Campaign. Its mission is to improve access to healthy meals year-round for North Carolinians. The Carolina Hunger Initiative is exploring innovative approaches to support our state’s food systems during the unprecedented COVID-19 emergency. Learn more at
Copyright © 2021 Carolina Hunger Initiative - All rights reserved.

UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
1700 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7426

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