Take With A Grain of Salt…

By: Nikki Nies

In a world with celebrity adoration too common than many would like to admit, which celebrity do you keep close tabs on? Who have you found to follow their latest styles or trends?

I’ve always been a fan of weight loss shows, such as the Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. I love seeing the transformation. Even though it might not be the most realistic time frame to lose weight, that argument is for another time.

Long story short, I adore Jillian Michaels. I love her in-your-face attitude. It works on people, but she’s able to quickly use her compassionate side as well. I value her words a little more than Bob Harper, another trainer on the show. Why? I’m not sure, perhaps because I can relate more.

Even with all my adoration, I have drawn a line. Have you ever seen on her weight loss drugs? Part of me things she’s been coaxed into being the “face’ of the weight loss drugs because I like to believe the best in people. I honestly don’t know much about the weight loss drugs, but I don’t like the concept of diet pills.

My point is, there are so many celebrities, doctors and experts ready to give you advice, ready to sell you their product. You have to take all the marketing with a grain of salt. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Let’s take Dr. Oz. My intention isn’t to discredit Dr. Oz’s expertise, intellect or knowledge in the field of medicine and nutrition, but for sake of argument, I am going to use him as a reference in the following paragraphs.

Yes, Dr. Oz, is a doctor, but I’ve noticed how loyal and faithful his fans are. Remember the acai berry craze? Or flaxseed? The paleo diet? or how his recommendations for Schiff omega 3 fish oil products? Is he recommending the brand Schiff because he truly believes it’s the best brand compared to competitiors or because he’s sponsored by them and is being paid to parade their name around?

I don’t know about you, but I wrestle with the concept of intention in many aspects of life. I know Dr. Oz’s intentions are to help his viewers, but where is the line between wanting to help viewers and pleasing his sponsors and pocket some money as well?

After reading this post, I hope you walk away with a greater awareness of who influences your decisions, whether their dietary, social interactions and/or certain purchases. Do you really need such and such products? Think about what impact you want from buying the latest and greatest product, how disappointed will you be if it doesn’t work?


The Exchange List


By: Nikki Nies

Last fall, I was assigned to try different food tools to track one’s eating habits.  Everything from the DASH diet to Choosemyplate.  The hardest tool to use was the Exchange List, which was created to help those with diabetes track their daily intake of varied amounts of nutrients.

By following the exchange system, one keep his or her blood sugar levels in the target range, with a specific amount of carbohydrates, fat and protein consumed daily.   It’s essential to track how many carbohydrates are consumed as too much can cause blood sugar levels to spike, while a recommended amount is needed to consume essential nutrients and vitamins.

A carbohydrate choice is a  portion of a carbohydrate that is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrates.  For example, 1 slice of bread=15 g of carbohydrates.  The amount of carbohydrates needed for  one depends on one’s body composition, physical activity level and/or weight management.

Foods that contain carbohydrates:

  • Grains—bread, crackers, noodles, rice, cereal, oatmeal, pasta, tortillas
  • Starchy vegetables—potatoes, peas, corn, winter squash, corn, lentils and beans
  • Fruit
  • Juices
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Desserts—ice cream

How to determine carbohydrate choice:

  1. Looking at Nutrition Facts—look at serving size
  2. Find the total carbohydrate in 1 serving
  3. Compare serving size to actual portion
  4. Count the grams of carbohydrate

Each Portion=15 grams of carbohdyrates

Grains Dairy Fruits Vegetables and Beans Sweets and Desserts Free*
1 slice bread 1 cup milk ½ medium banana or apple ½ potato, sweet potatoes, peas, corn ¾ oz. snack—pretzels Spices
¼ large bagel 1 cup low fat or skim ilk ½ cup canned fruit in own juice ½ cup cooked garbanzo, kidney and black beans 4-6 crackers Seasonings
6” tortilla 1 cup of low fat or fat free plain yogurt 1 cup melon 1 cup winter squash 15 potato chips Sugar substitutes
1 cup soup 6 oz. flavored yogurt with low calorie sweetener 2 tablespoons of dried fruit 1 ½ cups cooked vegetables 5 vanilla wafers Sugar free beverages
1/3 cup cooked rice or pasta 1 cup raspberries 1 cup cabbage, celery, cucumber, green onion, hot peppers, mushrooms, radishes, endive, spinach, lettuce 2 small sandwich cookies Bouillon
¾ oz. unsweetened cold cereal 1 ¼ cup strawberries ½ cup regular ice cream Club soda
½ cup cooked cereal ¾ cup blackberries 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey Coffee
3 cups air popped popcorn ¾ cup blueberries Tea
½ cup fruit juice Cocoa powder, unsweetened

*Considered free since there are less than 20 calories; less than 5 grams of carbohydrates

How to choose “better” carbs:

  • Choose whole fruits instead of fruit juices, canned or sugar covered fruits
  • Opt for whole grain bread, pasta and rice
  • Use variety with quinoa, oatmeal, barley and bulgur

It’s recommended women consume 3-4 carb choices at every meal (approx. 45-60 grams).  It’s recommended men consume 4-5 carbohydrate choices at every meal (approx. 60-75 grams of carbohydrates.

Although there are many resources available at one’s disposal online, it would be in the best interest of any one using the exchange list to consult a physician or RD to review dietary needs, develop a meal plan and/or clear up any questions.

If taking insulin and/or diabetes medications, it’s important to eat at about the same time daily.

I believe I finally have a better grasp on the exchange list.  Having the exposure for class was a great, but now that I’ve had the time to really look at the Exchange List and understand the portions in relation to carbohydrate choice, I’m more confident in my ability to explain the system to those interested in using the Exchange List.

A great resource: http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/diet-and-disease/diabetes/carbohydrate-counting-and-exchange-lists

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-diet/DA00077







The Power of Your Mind

b97a702477fe82dc27cb428d6913863aI’ve mentioned several times my constant temptation in regards to food are cookies.  I recently read that some of us eat because we’re addicted to the actual taste of the food. I’m not sure how accurate that concept from Women’s Health is, but it’s an interesting concept nonetheless.

However, one’s temptation is only that, a temptation and remembering that one has the power to control the temptation is an every day battle.  I’ve actually changed my route at work, it’s quicker to walk past the bakery, where they’re always giving out free samples.  I can’t help, but check if they’ve got my favorite cookies out.  It sounds hypocritical as a nutrition student, but every one has mind games and it’s just a matter of how much power is given into the temptation.

Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/318137161147681813/

Metabolism Boosting Foods

Original Image by Dan Zen via Flickr
Original Image by Dan Zen via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

A lot of emphasis is put on the quality of what one eats.  There are some foods that are associated with boosting one’s metabolism.  You have to eat to survive, so why not gravitate to foods that can help increase your metabolism.  Win win.

So, what’s metabolism? It’s the process that body takes to break down one’s food to produce energy.  As one ages, one’s metabolism decreases as muscle mass decreases over time.  By age 40, one’s metabolism starts to decline by 5% every decade on.  One can’t prevent the biological clock from moving forward, but keep these foods in mind when planning meals.

Food Source Explanation
  • Natural appetite suppressant
  • Increases metabolism by 30% after drinking 17 oz.
  • Suggested to drink water before every meal and snack
  • Increase intake of fruits and vegetables, which contain more fluids than empty calories such as chips and cookies
  • When cold water’s consumed, body expends energy to warm water to one’s natural body temperature
  • High in vitamin C
  • Reduce insulin levelsàpromoting weight loss

**check with doctor before consumption as there are some interactions with certain medications

  • Fat soulable fiber
  • Very filling
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Provides energy for workouts
  • Helps absorb calcium, which has been seen to help with weight loss
  • Protects against disease
  • Low in calories
  • Boosts immunity
Green Tea
  • Great antioxidant properties
  • Helps prevent some forms of cancer
  • Mood enhancer
  • Boosts metabolism from caffeine and catechins
  • Recommended to drink 2-4 cups, which can burn 17% more calories than moderately intense exercise
Hot Peppers
  • Causes one to burn more calories by releasing capsaicin
  • Temporarily releases stress hormones that speed up metabolism
  • i.e. green chili pepper
Low Fat Dairy
  • Great for digestive tract
  • High in calcium—great for weight loss
Lean Meats
  • Take longer to digest than fruits and vegetables
  • Provide more energy longer
  • Contains omega 3 fatty acids, which increase fat burning enzymes
  • Body burns more calories from protein than fat and carbohydrates
  • i.e. lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, beans, eggs, nuts

I started noticing a trend, a lot of the foods suggested are dairy products.  I looked further, and calcium’s been found to stimulate fat cells.

Calculate one’s http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/, which can help make sure one’s on target.

Disclaimer: Eating metabolism boosting foods does not give one a “pass” to omit exercise or other healthy foods from one’s diet.  Metabolism boosting foods should be consumed in conjunction with other healthy habits.

Sources: http://www.improving-health-and-energy.com/ways-to-increase-metabolism.html





Increase Prices for Change

Psychology of Change

By: Nikki Nies

I found this NY Times article extremely interesting and pertinent to the growing obesity epidemic in America. It talks about the wave of restaurants posting the calories on their menus, but the lack of substantial difference it has made on consumer’s food choices.

So, although on paper it would make sense that people would steer clear of certain items based on caloric content, the article explains why people seem to still opt for unhealthier choices.  Even the author explains he chooses the chicken salad sandwich, which is 213 calories more than tuna salad sandwich, since as he puts it, the taste of mayo trumps the extra calories he’ll be consuming.   Does that mean the future of America’s doomed? No, NY Times highlights how America has decreased the number of people who smoke when it was such a mainstream activity. Even 30 years ago, would you have thought the number of smokers would be down so much?

I decided to copy and paste the direct message from this article because I couldn’t have said it better myself. So…

Healton, an authority on tobacco use in particular, noted that the principal reasons for the remarkable decrease in smoking in New York City and elsewhere over the last few decades weren’t ominous commercials and warning labels. They were taxes and the bans on indoor smoking. People kicked the habit when it became onerous, in cost and convenience, not to.

Farley, the health commissioner, agreed. “The structural things were more effective for smoking than the information was,” he said. And that — not any itch to play nanny — is why he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg support such measures as new taxes on sodas, which may never happen, and a ban on sugary drinks over 16 ounces, which is in legal limbo.

The healthcare industry should focus more on preventive care and yes, there’s hope in the future. With the controversy of the soda ban in NY, people flung their arms up, stating if that’s taken away from, what’s next? Perhaps, complete banning of sugary foods and fast food isn’t the answer, but hiking up prices.

I understand increasing the price of fast food is easier said than done. Mega corporations that have gained success with dollar menus are going to fight such changes, but isn’t the health of the nation more important than a business? McDonald’s is not hurting in any way. In the long run, more money would be made in the long run as people will be living longer. There’s a lot to be done to curb the obesity epidemic, but looking to how far we’ve come in the case of smoking is a great step forward.  There’s always going to be those that disregard all the health claims, willing to pay the extra money, but increasing the price of junk food will make people at least second guess their unhealthy purchase.

Again, I can’t get over this connection between those quitting smoking and the increased price. I feel this is a solution to obesity that could work as well. I’m excited.

Benefits of AND


By: Nikki Nies

My time in the nutrition field has been short.  2 years to be exact.  But I’ve thrown myself into learning all I can about nutrition that one can learn in such a short period of time.  One of the best, but undervalued resources is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).  This is the largest nationwide organization for food and nutrition professionals with the philosophy

 “maintains that the only way to lose weight is through a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercise.”

When I started my undergraduate career at Montclair, I was told I had to join.  I noticed a lot of other people weren’t members, but I joined anyways.  As a student, there’s a discounted $50 yearly fee and I really wasn’t sure what I was paying for at first.  In the last two years, I’ve spent a lot of great time on the organization’s website, eatright.org and wouldn’t be where I am today without the great resources and information provided by AND.

At the end of the semester last year, the secretary of my school’s dietetic organization asked if I wanted to present the benefits of being a member of AND since she knew I was one.  As stated before, I’ve personally grown a lot throw the program.  I’ll share a few of my experiences as followed.


  • Be in the “know” to nutrition related celebrations, such has RD Day, National Nutrition Week, Dairy Month, etc. as well as access to information on such information
  • Ability to apply to dietetic internships—the path to becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD)
  • Educational opportunities—earn CPE credit through workshops and conferences
  • Career resource—anyone from students to seasoned health professionals
  • One can find a RD based on certain parameters—geographic area, area of interest, years of experience, languages spoken, types of mentoring, etc.
  • Networking with an active community with those sharing common interests
  • AND runs third party programs, such as Kids Eat Right—supporting White House’s efforts to provide nutrition education to children
  • Great discounts and insurance
  • Tremendous amount of volunteer experiences and leadership opportunities through DPG and MIG
  • Last year, I was one of the two Student Liaison’s for AND my school’s dietetic organization
  • Networking with an active community with those sharing common interests
  • Access to Evidence Based Library that has the most up to date research and information
  • Access to monthly publication Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ANDJ) that provides peer reviewed research, position papers and publications on the latest health news
  • Additional membership to Dietetic Practice Groups (DPG) and Member Interest Groups (MIG)
    • I am currently a member of Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN), Chinese American in Dietetics and Nutrition (CADN) and Thirty and Under in Nutrition and Dietetics (TUND)
      • I have an interest in helping those with eating disorders and as a member of SCAN, I have access to a plethora of RD’s that work with those with eating disorders, an array of fact sheets and newsletters that provide current information
      • I helped pioneer CADN’s mentoring program, wrote for their newsletter by interviewing Zhang Lin Kong, MS,RD and expanding my network of health professionals in the Chinese American realm of dietetics
      • Tremendous amount of volunteer experiences and leadership opportunities through DPG and MIG

Also, if you’re interested in applying to dietetic internships, you must be an AND member. Even though the website can seem daunting, there are so many resources that you definitely won’t regret joining.

AND’s users are not limited to Registered Dietitians, but Dietetic Technicians, physicians, pharmacists, consultants, nurses, students, educators, food service managers, researchers and many more in the field of health care.  AND is not only for health professionals and students, but as a lot of information accessible to the public.  No matter who you are, check out eatright.org and get ready to learn some invaluable information!

I’ve enjoyed these last two years, becoming more acclimated to AND’s website daily.  I worked with RD’s from across the country, but with a shared interest of nutrition, I have gotten an array of perspectives.  As stated before, one doesn’t have to be in dietetics to be a member, but members reap the most benefits.  Check it out!


Don’t Wait, Hydrate!

Original Image by Ineke Huizing via Flickr
Original Image by Ineke Huizing via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

To follow-up on my last post, I have no doubt I was mildly dehydrated throughout my trip to Thailand. Not only was it extremely hot, but the humidity made it worse. The best solution for dehydration is to drink water. However, we were not always guaranteed access to toilets. We took many bus rides, often lasting at least 4 hours, without stopping. Also, there were a couple of times that there were restrooms available, but locked.

I know it wasn’t the best situation, not drinking water, but the thought of not getting to a bathroom trumped my fear of dehydration. If I were to do it over again, I would’ve consumed more water and dealt with the consequences of finding a toilet if it came to that.

Water’s an essential nutrient with one’s body composed of 75% of it. Even with that statistic known, water’s considerably undervalued. How much water do you drink on a daily basis? Is it the recommended 6-8 cups? Are you sure? Dehydration’s when input of water is less than output causing one’s body to “dry out.”

Potential causes of dehydration:

  • Too busy or “forget” to drink water
  • Sick
  • Do not have access to drinkable water because of traveling, hiking and/or camping
  • Fever
  • Increased urine output
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Blood loss

There are several levels of severity of dehydration and it would be beneficial to know the symptoms and to check the status of your health.

Mild to moderate dehydration Severe dehydration Call doctor if…
Dry, sticky mouth Extreme thirst Bloody stool
Sleepiness Extreme fusiness/sleepiness in infants Can’t keep fluids down
Thirst Confusion and/or irritability in adults Develops severe diarrhea with fever and/or vomiting
Decrease urine output Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes Irritable or disoriented
Few or no tears when crying Lack of sweating Less active than usual
Dry skin Little or no urination
Constipation Sunken eyes
Dizziness or lightheadedness Low blood pressure
Shriveled or dry skin that lacks elasticity—doesn’t “bounce” back
In infants—sunken fontanels—soft spot on top of baby’s head
Rapid heartbeat
Rapid breathing
No tears when crying
Delirium or unconsciousness
Organs start to shut down

Treatment for dehydration:

  • In mild cases
    • Stop activity and rest
    • Get into shaded area and lie down, if possible
    • Prop up feet
    • Remove any unnecessary clothes (layers)
    • Rehydrate with 2 quarts of water and/or sports drinks within next 2-4 hours
    • Rest for next couple days
    • In extreme cases, intravenous will be given to rehydrate

If dehydration is left untreated, it can cause further complications, such as the swelling of brain—cerebral edema, seizures, heat injury, kidney failure, low blood volume shock, coma and death. When 10% of one’s body has fluid loss, it is a medical emergency and one needs to be seen by a physician immediately.

Tips to alleviate dehydration:

Unfortunately, your body may not always “tell” you you’re thirsty, so monitoring how much one’s drinking can lessen the chance of dehydration if drinking regularly. Also, checking the color of one’s urine is a good indicator—clear or light colored means well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber is usually indicative of dehydration.


**When exercising, it’s even more important to make sure one’s staying hydrated before, during and after activities when possible. Dehydration is a life threatening disease if not treated when mild symptoms occur.

Photo Credit: Synergy Athletics and Pocarisweat

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms



Thai’in It In


By: Nikki Nies

Hi everyone!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but please forgive me.  I recently got back from a trip to Thailand, which was not only awe-inspiring, humbling, but also eye-opening.

Over the last few months, I’ve been under a lot of stress, especially as I try to prepare for my next phase of my life.  I know first hand how easy it is to eat not because one’s hungry, but due to stress.  Even as a nutrition student, I had a noticeable amount of weight for my size.

Since I just graduated from an undergraduate program, I wanted to enjoy the trip to the fullest, which at first meant not depriving myself from the traditional, authentic Thai food.  In the first few days in Thailand, I noticed I had lost some weight (my wrist is the first place I lose weight and my watch was loose).  I was surprised because I was taking advantage of the local food and was more concerned with trying new foods than being health conscious.

Since returning from Thailand, I’m back to one of my healthiest weights, being able to quickly shed the pounds.  It got me thinking.  I was only there for 2 weeks, yet I able to enjoy the Thai food to the fullest without feeling guilty.

Some things I learned on my trip:

  • Their portions are about 1/4 of what I’m used to at home.  At first, I was shocked by the portions as it’s easy to become accustomed to oversized portions, however, I never ate a meal still hungry.  Yes, the portions were a lot smaller, but I always walked away from meals stuffed.  For example, what an expected American portion would be served, would be intended to serve 4 people in Thailand, at least.  Above, I’ve posted a picture of me at my first meal, such a great meal!
  • I just went through all my pictures and I didn’t actually take any pictures of the small plates, but check out this picture.  This dish is a typical portion for many Thai restaurants.


  • The amount of walking and physical activity that was did was 2 fold compared to what I do in the USA.  As a student, I can’t imagine how many hours I sit behind a desk and a computer.  The sedentary activities that are required to excel in college drastically limit the amount of activity one has time for throughout the day.  We were usually out all day, walking around temples, kayaking and/or never “lying around.” Perhaps, that balanced out what I ate.
  • I didn’t do any snacking there.  A lot of the people on my trip would buy chips at the 7/11, but I don’t gravitate towards salty foods and didn’t jump in.  Before the trip, I would eat every couple, just because I could.  However, on the trip we were designated certain times to eat and since I didn’t carry chips with me, I was only eating the small portioned out dishes.  I guess snacking really does add up!
  • Most of the food was extremely fresh.  We did a homestay and when you ordered, it would take about 40 minutes for the dishes to come out.  In America, that would be considered terrible service, but they literally made all dishes from scratch.  If you ordered sea bass, they went to their fish hatchery and grabbed a fresh sea bass from the water.  You can’t get any fresher than that!
  • Besides the visible use of condensed milk for banana pancakes, called roti, I didn’t see much dairy products used.  I don’t know if there’s a correlation between staying trim and the lack of dairy products, but I found it interesting.  They definitely have their share of ice cream places, but locals don’t go there often.

As stated, I learned a lot on my trip and it confirmed the belief, “less is more.”  I came back with a better appreciation for Thai cuisine, content that I got an array of tastes and flavors. I’m hoping what I learned from this trip I can tie into everyday practices back in the States.  I always considered myself to be a mindful eater, but I feel more aware of when I’m hungry and just bored.  So, perhaps, the Thai’s got it right, as their eating customs mimic a happy lifestyle while enjoying great flavors.

Source: http://www.smilepolitely.com/food/saigon_to_bangkok_in…_savoy/

Local Harvest

Original Image by momentcaptured1 via Flickr
Original Image by momentcaptured1 via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

With crop season in full swing and rising prices of goods, it’s not a bad time to locate local local farmer’s markets in your area.  Besides purchasing fresh produce, one can feel a sense of “giving back” to small farmers.

With crop season in full swing and rising prices of goods, it’s not a bad time to locate local local farmer’s markets in your area.  Besides purchasing fresh, seasonal food, one can feel a closer connection to where the food has been produced and know their carbon footprint’s been decreased.
As one might think, farmer’s markets reflect local cuisine and culture.  On Local Harvest’s website, you can find a farmer’s market nearest you.When’re you headed to your local market?

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Assistance Program

By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by USDA via Flickr
Original Image by USDA via Flickr

Motherhood is no small task.  The government recognizes the expenses and need for nutrition education for expectant mothers, new mothers, those breastfeeding mothers and parents with children under 5 years old.

Run under the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA, WIC now serves 53% of all infants born in America.

WIC “provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.”

Requirements for Eligibility:

  1. Categorical Requirement: 
    1. Women: 
      1. Pregnant: During pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after birth 
      2. Postpartum: Up to 6 months after birth 
      3. Breastfeeding: up to child’s first birthday 
    2. Infants: 
      1. up to 1 year of age 
    3. Children: 
      1. up 5 years of age
  2. Residential Requirement: 
    1. Must live in state one’s applying for help 
    2. Not required to live in State and Local service area for certain amount of time to meet residency need
  3. Income Requirement: 
    1. must be between 100-185% of federal poverty income
    2. Automatic Income Eligibility: 
      1. Some automatically meet WIC requirements, if they are part of other assistance programs (i.e. Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and/or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
      2. Some recipient’s income can be determined at state agency option
  4. Nutrition Risk Requirement: 
    1. Must be screened to be determined if one’s at nutritional risk 
    2. Nutrition risk: medical based or dietary based condition (i.e. poor diet)
    3. Blood work may be done to check for anemia
The WIC Prescreening Tool is used to determine one’s eligibility for WIC benefits. The process assesses one’s income, unemployment benefits, child support, etc.  State agencies are responsible for distributing benefits and determining participant eligibility.
Benefits and Services:
  • Supplemental Food:Items provided: formula, juice, milk, breakfast cereal, cheese, eggs, fruits and vegetables, whole wheat bread, brown rice, canned fish, tofu, soy milk, legumes, peanut butter, and medical supplies
    • Food checks or EBT cards are distributed to users to buy food
  • Nutrition Education: free classes are offered to help learn about health prevention and strategies
  • Access to healthcare and social services: i.e. prenatal programs, immunizations, child clinics, and/or drug and alcohol treatment programs
  • Breastfeeding support: Certified Lactation Educators provide techniques and explain the benefits
There’s always a helping hand for those in need.  The USDA’s website on the assistance program can give one a better idea if they fulfill the eligibility requirements.  One shouldn’t have to fret about providing nutritious meals and care to their new born infants and children.