Throughout the summer the AtlantiCare Health Engagement team will host its Summer Cooking Series of community lectures. The team kicked off the series June 21 by sharing tips for gardening and grilling for good health. Laura Engelmann, MHA, AtlantiCare’s Community Health and Wellness manager, discussed the benefits of planting an edible garden, easy-to-grow fruits and vegetables, and gardening tips. Joseph Marino, wellness specialist, shared healthy recipes and grilling techniques.
Future lectures will include:
• “Healthy Skin from the Inside Out” – Thursday, July 11;
• “The Power of Positivity” – Friday, July 26;
• “Meet the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet” – Wednesday, August 7;
• “What’s for Lunch? Tips for Packing Healthy School Lunches” – Friday, August 23.
All events are from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the AtlantiCare LifeCenter in the AtlantiCare Health Park, 2500 English Creek Avenue, Egg Harbor Township, NJ.
Five Steps to Organic Gardening
1. Build the soil: Improve soil structure and drainage by adding organic compost, leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels/cutoffs. This will increase the level of good microbes and number of earthworms. It will also help the soil to hold, then release nutrients slowly.
2. Choose right plant, right time, right place: Choose summer season fruits, herbs, and vegetables that you like and will eat. Place plants and seed containers in the ground or in raised beds in areas that are exposed to six hours of sun with access to water. Plant in an area that is protected from animals.
3. Fertilize wisely: Always fertilize your garden with safe, organic products. A good fertilizer will offer plants the needed nutrients your garden soil might be lacking.
4. Manage problems organically: Suppress weeds by mulching, spacing plants to shade out weeds, pulling or hoeing weeds, and planting cover crops in open areas. Manage disease by choosing resistant plant varieties, removing and destroying diseased plants, trimming plants to let air in, and annually rotating crops.
5. Observe and care for your garden: Walk your garden to observe it and manage weeds and pests, and fertilize if needed. Water wisely, deeply, less often, and in the morning, if possible.
Healthy Grilling Tips
1. Move to the center: Cook your meat in the center of the grill while moving coals to the outside, and flip it frequently.
2. Trim your protein: Smaller portions are better for your health.
3. Shorten grilling time: Microwave meat before grilling to decrease grilling time.
4. Choose healthier items to grill: Grill those veggies and fish that are low in mercury instead of meat.
For more information about AtlantiCare, call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 1-888-569-1000 or find AtlantiCare on Facebook.