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Boston Housing Authority

Healthy Food Purchasing Handbook

BHA’s Center for Community Engagement and Civil Rights Boston REACH: Partners in Health and Housing

Dear Residents, Healthy eating is an extremely important part of our lives and we’ve created this handbook with BHA resident leaders to provide information about making healthy food choices. Becoming knowledgeable about reading nutrition labels, common health risks, allergens, and added substances, is the first step to a healthier lifestyle. Incorporating recipes, menus, and food facts, this handbook is the perfect guide to making healthier choices. The handbook includes a number of additional resources and we encourage you to share the information with your friends and neighbors. Bill McGonagle BHA Administrator

About this Handbook This handbook is meant to act as a simple guide that promotes healthy eating among BHA Local Tenants Organizations (LTOs) and residents. The handbook was designed in collaboration with resident leaders from a number of LTOs to create a guide that is relevant and useful for BHA residents. The handbook contains information about nutritional facts, relevant healthy guidelines, and tips on eating healthy on a budget. We hope this handbook provides useful information. This handbook will also be available on our website. Enjoy!

Follow BHA on Twitter: @BHA_CCECR Find BHA on Facebook: BHA Healthy Food Purchasing Handbook (2nd Edition - 8/2016)

Table of Contents Healthy Food and the City of Boston Nutrient Facts


Reading the Nutrition Facts Food Allergens




Serving Food: Local Tenants Organizations


Local Tenants Organizations Funding Sources Healthy and Budget Friendly Meals Healthy Eating on a Budget



Tips for getting the most from every aisle Seasonal Produce Guide




Boston Grocery Stores and Markets


Transportation in the City of Boston


Food Assistance Resources


General Healthy Living Tips


Disclaimer: The content of this booklet is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical or nutritional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your primary care provider regarding any health condition, and a registered dietitian on any food allergy or dietary concern. Any listing of stores or businesses is for general information and does not represent any endorsement.

Healthy Food and the City of Boston

Eating healthy foods is an important part of our well-being as individuals and as a community. The City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission have already developed guidelines to help guide their employees but everyone can benefit from guidance on healthy eating. Below and on the next page are summaries of the healthy food standards each entity uses now.

Summary: City of Boston Healthy Options Beverage Standards

NO to High-Calorie Sweetened Cold Beverages • Non-diet sodas • High-Calorie sweetened energy/sports drinks • Pre-sweetened tea/coffee drinks • Juice with added sugar • Sweetened water products (Unless beverage contains 1 gram or less of sugar per fluid ounce)


to diet/non-calorically sweetened beverages but, no more than 1/3 of total beverage offerings

to fruit and/or YES vegetable-based beverages if: • 100% juice • 8 ounces or less offered • 150 calories or less • No salt or low sodium to milk, soy milk and YES other milk substitutes if:

• 1% or skim milk • 12 ounces or less & offers no more than 25 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving



Summary: Boston Public Health Commission Healthy Food Purchasing Guidelines

NO to … • Artificial Trans-Fats (Look for Partially Hydrogenated Oils) • High-Sugar foods/beverages • High-Sodium foods/beverages (more than 480 mg of sodium/serving) • High-Fat foods/beverages • High-Cholesterol foods/beverages • Processed Meats (with more than 300 mg of sodium per serving) • Canned Fruits in Syrup • Deep Fried Foods

To determine if food contains a high amount of sodium or fat use the 5/20 rule (See pg.12)

to healthier YES alternatives like:

• Tap Water • 100% Fruit and Vegetable Juices • 1% or skim (non-fat) unflavored Milk • Low-Sugar Milk substitutes (e.g. unflavored soy, rice, and nut) • Fiber-Rich breads, pastas, cereals (e.g. whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta) • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables • Low-Salt or ‘No Salt Added’ canned veggies • Unsweetened juice or water canned fruits • Low-Sodium/ Low-Fat Condiments Source(s): beverage-environment/Documents/Procurement%20Final%20Draft.pdf


The saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars found in foods and beverages are important for you to think about. Saturated fat and sodium are sometimes found naturally in foods and beverages. Sugars, sodium, and ingredients high in saturated fat can also be added during processing or preparation of foods.

Excess added sugars can lead to Heart Disease, Stroke, Hypertension, High-Cholesterol, Diabetes, and Obesity. ADDED SUGARS Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include natural sugars found in milk and fruits.


• Beverages, such as regular soda, energy or sports drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened coffee and tea drinks • Candy • Cakes • Cookies and brownies • Pies and cobblers • Sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts • Ice cream and other dairy desserts (e.g. ice cream cake, pudding, frozen, yogurt) • Sugars, jams, syrups, and sweet toppings

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Nutrient Facts

Most of us eat and drink too many added sugars from the following foods:



Limit Your Added Sugars Intake You can limit your intake of added sugars by: • Drinking water, unsweetened • Choosing fruit as a naturally tea or coffee, or other caloriesweet dessert or snack free beverages. instead of foods with added sugars.

• Limiting the consumption of sodas or beverages with artificial sweeteners.

Low-F at Milk

• Eating sweet desserts and snacks, such as cookies, cakes, pies, and ice cream, on occasion and choosing a small portion when you enjoy them. • Choosing packaged foods that have no added sugars such as plain yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, or frozen fruit with no added sugar or syrup.

• Choosing beverages, such as low-fat or fat-free milk, 100% fruit juice, and unsweetened milk alternatives like rice milk, almond milk or soy milk. Source(s):


Your body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly, but too much sodium is bad for your health.

Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and stroke. SODIUM Most of us get more sodium than we need. While adding salt to your food is a source of sodium, it may not be the main reason that your sodium intake is high. Packaged and prepared foods such as ready-to-eat products or restaurant meals are common sources of sodium. Sodium is added to packaged foods during processing such as in curing meat, baking, thickening, enhancing flavor, as a preservative, or to keep foods moist. Some common foods that are often high in sodium: • Packaged or prepared foods • Processed meat, poultry, and seafood products (e.g. deli meat, chicken nuggets) • Pizza • Pre-packaged rice or pasta dishes • Salad dressings and seasonings • Sauces and gravies • Canned soups • Sandwiches (Depends on meat, bread, and condiments) • Taco mixes



Limit Your Sodium Consumption You can lower the amount of sodium you eat and drink by: • Using the Nutrition Facts • Adding herbs and spices label to compare the sodium instead of salt to recipes in packaged foods and and dishes. beverages. (See pg. 12-13, • Choosing fresh or frozen Reading the Nutrition Facts) poultry, seafood, and lean • Buying low-sodium, reduced meats instead of processed sodium, or no salt-added or ready-to-eat products. products. • Cooking more often at home to control the sodium in your food. No Salt Added

Mixed Vegetables

• Rinsing canned veggies and beans with cold water. • Looking for fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables without added sauces or seasonings.

Black Pepper






Our body needs us to consume fat in order to work properly. It is important to remember that there are “healthy” fats like unsaturated fats and “unhealthy” fats like saturated and trans fat.

Excess consumption of saturated fat and trans fat can increase your bad cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease. SATURATED FAT Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature and are most often found in animal products such as beef, pork, and chicken with skin. When buying such meats go with the leaner animal products, such as chicken breast or pork loin, as they often have less saturated fat.

TRANS FAT Trans fat is mostly artificially added during food processing and can often be found in many cakes, cookies, crackers, icings, margarines, and microwave popcorn.

UNSATURATED FAT Unsaturated fat typically comes from plant sources such as olives, nuts, or seeds but, unsaturated fat is also present in fish. Unsaturated fats are usually found in foods that are liquid at room temperature like olive oil. Unlike saturated fat, these oils contain mostly mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.



Limit Saturated And Trans Fat Eating more unsaturated fat than saturated and trans fats can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your ‘good cholesterol’ levels, also known as, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.

You can limit the saturated and trans fats you consume by: • Choosing foods higher in unsaturated fat and lower in saturated fat as part of your healthy eating style. • Using oil-based dressings and spreads on foods instead of butter, stick margarine, or cream cheese. • Drinking fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk instead of reduced-fat (2%) or whole milk. • Buying lean cuts of meat instead of fatty meats or choosing fatty meats less often. • Adding low-fat cheese to homemade pizza, pasta, and mixed dishes. • In recipes, using low-fat plain yogurt instead of cream or sour cream.

Cut back on foods containing saturated fat including: • Desserts and baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, donuts, pastries, and croissants • Many cheeses and foods containing cheese, such as pizza • Sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and ribs • Ice cream and other dairy desserts • Fried potatoes (French fries) – if fried in a saturated fat or hydrogenated oil • Regular ground beef and cuts of meat with visible fat • Fried chicken and other chicken dishes with the skin • Whole milk and full-fat dairy foods Try baking or broiling foods like chicken for a great tasting healthy meal. Source(s):


Serving Size It is important to know how many servings there are in one package because if you eat two servings it results in double the calories and twice the amount of nutrients, both good and bad.

Reading the Nutrition Facts

Amount of Calories Once you know the number of servings you can multiply that number by “calories per serving.” That’s how you’ll know the total number of calories you’re really eating! This section is helpful if you want to manage your weight (lose, gain, or maintain). It also shows how many calories in one serving come from fat. In this example, there are 250 calories and 110 come from fat. Tip: Remember that a product that’s fat-free isn’t necessarily calorie-free.

Limit these Nutrients Eating too much total fat (including saturated fat and trans fat), cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risk of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure. The goal is to stay below 100% daily values (DV) for each of these nutrients per day.

Get Enough of these Nutrients Americans often don’t get enough dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron in their diets. Eating enough of these nutrients may improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions. When deciding whether a food is high or low in a nutrient you can use the 5-20 rule.

5-20 Rule 12

A food is low in a nutrient if the Percent Daily Value is 5% DV or less A food is high in a nutrient if the Percent Daily Value is 20% DV or more

Source(s): ucm079449.htm

Percent (%) Daily Value

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 cup (228g) Servings Per Container about 2 Amount Per Serving

Calories 250

Calories from Fat 110 % Daily Value* 18% 15%

Total Fat 12g Saturated Fat 3g Trans Fat 3g Cholesterol 30mg Sodium 470mg Total Carbohydrate 31g Dietary Fiber 0g Sugars 5g Proteins 5g

10% 20% 10% 0%

Vitamin A Vitamin C Calcium Iron

4% 2% 20% 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on you calorie needs: Total Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Total Carbohydrate Dietary Fiber




Less than Less than Less than Less than

65g 20g 300mg 2,400mg 300g 25g

80g 25g 300mg 2,400mg 375g 30g

This section tells you whether the nutrients (total fat, sodium, dietary fiber, etc.) in one serving of food contribute a little or a lot to your total daily diet. The %DVs are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Each listed nutrient is based on 100% of the recommended amounts for that nutrient. For example, 18% for total fat means that one serving furnishes 18% of the total amount of fat that you could eat in a day and stay within public health recommendations.

Use the Quick Guide to Percent DV (%DV): 5% DV or less is low 20% DV or more is high

Footnote with Daily Values (DVs) The footnote provides information about the DVs for important nutrients, including fats, sodium and fiber. The DVs are listed for people who eat 2,000 or 2,500 calories each day. The amounts for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium are maximum amounts. That means you should try to stay below the amounts listed. Source(s): ucm079449.htm


Each year, millions of Americans have allergic reactions to food and even though most allergic reactions can be mild and minor, some can be severe and life-threatening. If you have allergies and/or are working with a large group of people it is important to read or label ingredients that are considered major food allergens.

What Are Major Food Allergens?

Food Allergens

While more than 160 foods, food and color additives can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies, the following account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions and are designated as “major food allergens” by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA).




Crustacean shellfish

Tree nuts




(Almonds, walnuts, etc.)

The name of the food source of a major food allergen must either be a common name of an ingredient (e.g., buttermilk) that also identifies the allergens food source (i.e., milk) or appear in one of two ways: 1. In parentheses following the name of the ingredient. Examples: “lecithin (soy),” “flour (wheat),” and “whey (milk)” — OR — 2. Immediately after or next to the list of ingredients in a “contains” statement. Example: “Contains Wheat, Milk, and Soy.”


Source(s): FoodAllergens/ucm079311.htm

Take any of the following steps when serving foods with allergens: • Ask about allergies before deciding on a menu for small meetings. • Work with the vendor catering your event or meeting to either skip ingredients with allergens or put signs on foods with allergens. • Put a sign near the food with allergens when serving food at a large event or meeting.

Severe Food Allergies Can Be Life-Threatening It is important to be familiar with the early symptoms of allergic reactions to prevent serious health consequences. Following ingestion of a food allergen(s), a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Keep in mind allergic reactions can be immediate or delayed and can lead to: • Skin reactions such as swelling of lips, mouth, tongue, face or throat; hives; rashes; itching; and skin redness • Sneezing, nasal congestions, runny nose, chronic cough, shortness of breath, or other breathing difficulties like asthma • Throat, and lung reactions such as constricted airways in the lungs and/or suffocation by swelling of the throat • Stomach and intestinal reactions such as nausea, abdominal pain and bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, and gas • Severe lowering of blood pressure and anaphylactic shock Each year in the U.S., it is estimated that anaphylaxis to food results in: • 30,000 emergency room visits • 2,000 hospitalizations • 150 deaths • Prompt administration of epinephrine by auto-injector (e.g., Epi-pen) during early symptoms of anaphylaxis may help prevent these serious consequences. Source(s): FoodAllergens/ucm079311.htm


Green Light: Serve More Frequently • Water • Popcorn (Low Salt & no • Spritzers Butter) • Salad or • Chicken (Baked Lettuce & & Grilled) Tomatoes • Fresh Fruits • Whole Wheat Bread • Veggie Platters • Whole Grain • Tuna Pasta

Yellow Light: Serve Occasionally

• Tea • 100% Juice • Cheese • Coffee • Diet Soda • Pickles • Red Meat

Red Light: Avoid Serving • Nachos • Donuts • Processed Meats (eg. Deli Meats, Salami, Bologna) • Processed Cheese • Pastries


• Chips • Bread (White) • Soda • Non-100% Juice • Danishes • Cookies • Pizza

• Egg Salad (with low-fat mayo) • Coffee Creamer • Cheese and Crackers • Chips (Baked) • Veggie Pizza • Dried Fruits • Sugar-Free Candy

“Coffee hours are a way to get residents out of their homes and socialize with neighbors while providing them with healthy options. Eat together, eat right.” - Michele McNickles, St.Botolph

Sample Menu from St.Botolph Coffee Hour Typically taking place on or near lunch time (11:00am - 2:00pm) Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate are served at each event with a variety of sweeteners, including sugar. Low-Fat Creamer also available. • Turkey breast on whole-wheat bread • Roast beef sandwich on whole-wheat bread • Egg salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread • Tuna fish on whole-wheat bread • Seafood salad • Pastrami on rolls (Occasionally)

Condiments/sides typically available: • American cheese • Mayo • Mustard • Ketchup

• Hot Sauce • Relish • Pickles

Snacks/Desserts: • Fruits (Apples, Oranges, Bananas, etc.) • Baked Potato Chips “Access to healthy foods is very important to BHA residents because healthy foods enable their bodies and minds to function normally which will make them more capable of withstanding the negative circumstances they face in their daily lives.” - Julieta Lopez, Lenox/Camden


Local Tenants Organizations Funding Sources

BHA Policy on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages The BHA has a long history of supporting resident health initiatives and promoting resident health. In recognition that Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) can contribute to obesity, tooth decay, heart disease, diabetes and other health issues, it is the BHA’s policy not to purchase SSBs when providing beverages for resident meetings or events. In addition, it is the BHA’s policy to provide water as the primary beverage at these forums. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) are drinks with added sugar including: non-diet soft drinks/sodas, flavored juice drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks. This policy does not refer to coffee, tea, or natural juices. Tenant Participation Funds Provided by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or State Department of Housing and Community Development. Given once a year. Allowed: Can purchase refreshments and light snacks at reasonable costs, but must be directly related to resident meetings for allowable activities. Some examples are training, LTO meetings, and resident community input/informational meetings. Restrictions: Cannot be used to purchase food for entertainment events such as block parties, holiday dinners, and restaurants. Required: LTOs must provide quarterly expenditure reports.

Laundry Funds

Provided to the recognized Elderly/Disabled LTOs through Boston Housing Operation Department. Given Quarterly. Allowed: Can be used for food and entertainment such as block parties, holiday dinners, and restaurants. Restrictions: Cannot be used to provide service to an individual or small selected group of individuals. Required: LTOs must provide monthly expenditure reports.


Vending Machine Funds

Allowable by the Boston Housing Authority for recognized LTO to set up business accounts with various vending machine companies. Restrictions: Must be negotiated with the management office, unrestricted funds. Required: Disclose vending machine company and LTOs must report amounts being received.

City Trust Funds

Provided by City of Boston Treasury Department - Trust Unit. Allowed: Can be used for food purchase for entertainment related to Unity Day or similar activities or events. Restrictions: Can only be used to support activities pre-approved by BHA’s Community Services Department to ensure that these fall within the guidelines of the specific Trust Fund. E.g., funds may be used to purchase food for Unity Day or special resident event such as a holiday gathering for residents of a BHA development; may also be used to hire a DJ for these events. Required: LTOs must provide expenditure reports including original receipts.

Boston REACH: PHH Project Funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Allowed: Can only purchase healthy food and beverages in accordance with the Boston Public Health Commission Food Purchasing Policy for meetings, events or activities related to policy education. Restrictions: Cannot be used to purchase food for activities outside of the REACH Grant. Required: LTOs must provide expenditure reports.

Available resources/references on permissible use of Funds: • Funding tenant participation, 24 CFR 964.150 • Tenant Participation for State-Aided Housing, 760 CMR 6.09 (3) (c) • Boston Housing Authority Tenant Participation Policy • Boston Housing Authority LTO Memorandum of Agreement • Boston Public Health Commission Food Purchase Policy For more information visit


Valerie + Carol’s Chicken Broccoli Cauliflower-Based Alfredo

Yield: approx. 15-20 servings (Serving size: about 1/2 cup) You’ll Need: • Chicken Breast - 45 oz (approx 9 chicken breasts) • Broccoli Florets - 1 1/2 cups • Elbow Macaroni - 1 Box (16 oz) • Cauliflower-based alfredo sauce (recipe starts below and continues on the next page)

Cooking Instructions

Bake chicken breasts in oven for 40 minutes at 350 degrees (or until chicken is cooked through, not pink in middle) and dice chicken. Cook pasta for about 5-6 minutes. Note: Pasta should be slightly undercooked as it will cook more when you bake it. Boil or Steam broccoli for 5 to 10 minutes (time will vary depending if it’s fresh or frozen) Note: Broccoli should be slightly undercooked as it will soften when baked with other ingredients. Mix macaroni, chicken and broccoli in a large baking pan and coat with the cauliflower-based alfredo sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until it is thoroughly heated.

Sauce Ingredients

• Chopped Cauliflower - 12 cups (3 small heads) • 1 cup of water • 6 cloves garlic, minced • 1 tablespoon butter • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)


• • • • •

Pinch of nutmeg Pinch of black pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil ¼ cup heavy cream 2 cups of vegetable broth

Sauce Instructions (Continued)

Boil cauliflower in water over medium-high heat until soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Transfer the cauliflower to a blender with about 2 cups of veg broth. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. Add the sautéed garlic, salt, nutmeg, and black pepper and puree until very smooth, about 5 minutes. While blending add the olive oil. Add more broth or water if mixture is too thick. You want a very smooth puree. When ready, transfer back to the butter/garlic skillet. Add the cream and cook over low heat. Add 1 cup of water and keep warm until ready to use.

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes Recipe from

You'll Need:

• 4 tomatoes, halved horizontally • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped • 1/4 teaspoon salt • Freshly-ground pepper, to taste • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Cooking Instructions Preheat oven to 450° F. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Source(s):


Healthy and Budget Friendly Meals

Stewed Pork and Squash

Recipe and Photos from

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups) Total time: 2 Hours, 21 Minutes You'll Need:

• • • •

1 tablespoon canola oil 3/4 cup chopped onion 1 medium garlic clove, minced 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch pieces • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

• 1/8 teaspoon salt • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper • 1 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth • 1 (15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained • 4 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Cooking Instructions Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add pork; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt, and red pepper; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until pork is almost tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in butternut squash; simmer 30 minutes or until pork and squash are tender.



Vegetable Fried Brown Rice (Side Dish)

Recipe and Photos from

Ever have leftover vegetables hanging around the fridge – like half a pepper, a bit of onion, broccoli that might go bad? You can combine all of them into a great vegetable fried rice side dish! White or brown rice both work great in this recipe but, we recommend brown because it is healthier.

You’ll Need: • • • •

2 tablespoons peanut oil 3 garlic cloves (minced) ½ cup onion (finely chopped) Red pepper flakes (1/8 – ¼ teaspoon, optional) • 1 cup broccoli florets (chopped) • ½ red bell pepper (diced)

• • • •

1/3 cup carrots (chopped) 1/3 cup frozen peas 2 cups cooked brown rice 1 ½ tablespoon low sodium soy sauce • 1 egg

Cooking Instructions In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic, onion, and desired amount of red pepper flakes, cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the diced red pepper, carrots, and broccoli with a pinch of salt/ pepper to the skillet. Raise heat to medium and cook for 3-5 minutes. Toss in the cooked rice. Stir to combine. Drizzle in the low sodium soy sauce. Stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Break the egg and add to the skillet. Add in the frozen peas. Stir to combine. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the egg is cooked and peas are heated through. Source(s): side-dish-dinner/vegetable-fried-brown-rice/


Healthy Eating on a Budget

Tips from the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.Gov Website on Healthy Eating on a Budget Make a Shopping Plan Get more for your buck by using the following useful tips: • Eat before you shop. Grocery shopping hungry can lead to impulse buying and unhealthy food choices. • Read the sales flyers. Sales flyers are usually released mid-week and can be found at the store’s entrance, in the newspaper, or on their website. • Use coupons – but only for items that you know you’ll use. If you don’t need an item right away, save the coupon and see if it goes on sale. • Look up and down for savings. Stores often stock the priciest items at eye level. You can save big by looking at the upper and lower shelves too. • Check for store brands. Most stores offer their own brand of products that often cost less than name brands. • Grab from the back. Stores typically stock shelves from back to front, placing the newest items behind the older ones. Reach in the back for the freshest items especially in the produce, dairy, and meat aisles. • Ask for a rain check. If a sale item has run out, ask the store for a rain check. This allows you to pay the sale price after the item is restocked. • Join your store’s loyalty program. Most stores offer a free loyalty program. Get special offers and discounts that nonmembers do not. There are many places where you can find good deals such as at grocery stores, ethnic markets, dollar stores, retail, super centers, wholesale clubs, and farmers markets.



When looking for deals be sure to look at the different circulars and also ask friends and family where they shop and find their best deals. NOTE: Many stores have apps and also offer their weekly circulars online. If you have access to a smartphone or computer check out the following useful apps: (Search “Weekly Ads� on your computer or the app store on your phone for other apps)

Understand the Price Tag The image below shows two different price tags. In the first box, the retail price is $1.62 for one 32 oz. yogurt. The unit price is $0.05 per oz. In the second box, the retail price is $0.72 for one 6 oz. yogurt. The unit price is $0.12 per oz. Based on the unit price, you can determine that the larger, 32 oz. yogurt is the better buy.

How is the unit price found? TOTAL PRICE / SIZE = UNIT PRICE This is an example using the 6 oz. yogurt that costs $0.72. $0.72 / 6 oz. = $0.12 The unit price of this yogurt is therefore $0.12 per oz. Source(s):


Tips for getting the most from every aisle Fruits and Veggies • Find fruits and vegetables in the produce section, frozen foods and in the canned food aisles. Additionally you can find dry fruits near the produce or snack aisles. • Buy “in season” produce (See pg. 28-29 for a Seasonal Produce Guide). They are usually less expensive and are at their peak flavor. Buy only what you can use before it spoils. • Try buying canned. Choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low-sodium” or “no salt added” on the label. These products are just as nutritious as fresh, and often cost less. • If you have the freezer space, buy frozen vegetables without added sauces or butter. They are as good for you as fresh and may cost less. • Freeze your fresh veggies to make them last longer. Be sure to blanch them before freezing them. • Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables last much longer than fresh and it’s a quick way to add fruits and vegetables to your meal.

Protein Foods (Meat, Seafood, Beans & Peas, Nuts, and Eggs):

• Find protein foods throughout the entire store. They can be found in the fresh meat case, frozen foods section, dairy case, and canned food aisles. • Some great low cost choices include beans and peas, such as kidney beans, split peas, and lentils. Use these good sources of protein for main or side dishes. Beans and peas cost far less than a similar amount of other protein foods. • To lower meat costs, buy the family-sized or value pack and freeze what you don’t use. Choose lean meats like chicken or turkey. When choosing ground beef, make sure it’s lean (92% lean 8% fat) ground beef. • Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive. Try buying canned tuna, salmon, or sardines. They store well and are a low cost option. • Don’t forget about eggs! They’re a great low-cost option that’s easy to prepare.



Dairy (Milk, Yogurt, Cheese) • Find dairy foods in the refrigerated and pantry aisles. • Choose low-fat or fat-free milk. They provide just as much calcium, but fewer calories than whole and 2% milk. • Buy the larger size of low-fat plain yogurt instead of individual flavored yogurts. Then add your own flavors by mixing in fruits. • When it comes to cheese, look for “reduced fat,” or “low-fat” on the label. • Always check the sell by date to make sure you’re buying the freshest dairy products.

Grains (Bread, Pasta, Cereal) • Find grains in many areas of the store, including the bread, cereal, snack, pasta, and rice aisles. • Make half your grains whole grains. Throughout the store, check ingredient lists and pick the items that have a whole grain listed first. • Whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain cornmeal, whole oats, and whole rye. • Rice and pasta are budget-friendly grain options. • Choose hot cereals like plain oatmeal or whole grain dry cereal. • Try new whole grain snack ideas, like whole-wheat crackers or popping your own popcorn. Source(s):


Seasonal Produce Guide


Apples Apricots Bananas Blackberries Blueberries Cantaloupe Cherries Cranberries Grapefruit Grapes Honeydew Melon Kiwifruit Lemons Mangos Oranges Peaches Pears Pineapple Plums Raspberries Strawberries Tomatoes Watermelon

VEGETABLES Arugula Asparagus Beets Bell Peppers Bok Choy Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower


Grown SPRING SUMMER FALL WINTER in MA Mar - May Jun - Aug Sept - Nov Dec - Feb


FALL WINTER Grown SPRING SUMMER in MA Mar - May Jun - Aug Sept - Nov Dec - Feb

Celery Chard Corn Cucumbers Eggplant Garlic Ginger Green Beans Kale Leeks Lettuce & Greens Lima Beans Mung beans Mushrooms, shiitake Onions Parsnips Peas, green and snap Peppers Potatoes Pumpkins Radishes Rhubarb Scallions Spinach Sprouts Squash, summer Squash, winter Sweet Potatoes & Yams Turnips Zucchini



Boston Grocery Stores and Markets

The following is a list of grocery stores serving Boston neighborhoods and stores near BHA’s housing developments. Although there aren’t many grocery stores serving Boston, as part of this handbook we have created a resource map of chain and local grocery stores serving Boston neighborhoods. To check out the map go to:


Market Basket 170 Everett Ave, Chelsea 112 114 Sanchez Market 156 Bunker Hill St, Charlestown 89/93 93 Star Market 14 McGrath Hwy, Somerville 80 87 88

East Boston

El Valle De La Sultana-Market 121 Bennington St Portillo Food Market 44 Brooks St 120 Shaw’s Supermarket 246 Border St 114 116 116/117 117 120 121

Hyde Park

America’s Food Basket 942 Hyde Park Ave 32 32/33 33 39 Price Rite 870 River St 24 24/27 33 Shaw’s Supermarket 1377 Hyde Park Ave 32 32/33 Stop & Shop 1025 Truman Pkwy 24 24/27



America's Food Basket 1) 217 Bowdoin St 15 17 2) 500 Geneva Ave RL (Fields Corner) 15 17 18 19 201 202 210 215 3) 576 Washington St 22 23 45 Brothers Supermarket 776 Dudley St 15 16 17 41 Daily Table Grocery 450 Washington St 23 Happy Super-Market 868 Blue Hill Avenue 22 28 29 45 Las Americas Market 970 Blue Hill Avenue 28 29 Star Market 4 River St 12 15 24 24/27 27 217 240 Star Market 45 William T Morrissey Blvd RL (JFK/Umass) Stop & Shop/ Super Stop & Shop 1) 460 Blue Hill Avenue 14 19 22 23 28 45 2) South Bay Center, 1100 Mass Ave 8 10 16 3) 545 Freeport St 201 202 210 Tropic Market 1007 Blue Hill Avenue 28 29

00 - Bus Route OL - Orange Line RL - Red Line GL - Green Line

Jamaica Plain

Stop & Shop 301 Centre St OL (Jackson Square) 14 22 29 41 44 9703


America's Food Basket 926 Cummins Hwy 15 24 24 27 28 29 30 31 33 245 716 Mattapan Trolley


Save-A-Lot 650 American Legion Hwy Stop & Shop 950 American Legion Hwy 14 Tony's Market 4253 Washington St Village Market 30 Corinth St 14 30 34 34E 35 36 37 39 40 40/50 50 51


Ming’s Supermarket Inc 1102 Washington St 9 11 15 SL4 SL5 Save-A-Lot 330 Martin Luther King Jr St 14 15 19 22 23 28 41 44 45 66 Stop & Shop 1620 Tremont St GL (Fenwood Road) 35 38 66 Tropical Foods 450 Melnea Cass Blvd OL (Ruggles Station) 9 19 47 9702 CT3 SL4 SL5

South Boston

Foodie’s South Boston Market 230 W Broadway 9 11 Stop & Shop 713 E Broadway 5 7 9 10

West Roxbury

Shaw’s Supermarket 75 Spring St 36

Farmers Markets There are a number of farmers markets open year round and you can use Boston Bounty Bucks at participating Farmers Markets to make them more affordable (see page 34 for details). For more information: Contact the Office of Food Initiatives at (617) 635-3717. Or visit their website: Be sure to use the seasonal produce guide on pg. 28-29, in season produce is often cheaper and tastier! All links are case-sensitive.


Transportation in the City of Boston

MBTA Subway and Bus Service The MBTA offers both subway and bus service throughout Boston. For the latest subway/bus fares, contact the MBTA at (617)222-3200. TTY: (617) 222-5146 Or visit:

MBTA’s The RIDE The MBTA also offers para-transit to disabled individuals who qualify because medically they are unable to navigate other public transportation routes. For more information call: (617) 222-5123, TTY: (617) 222-5415 Or visit:

MBTA Senior Reduced Fare Programs Seniors (65+) can ride the subway, commuter rail, local buses, inner express buses, and outer express buses for a discounted fare. In addition, seniors can purchase a discounted monthly pass (good for unlimited travel on local bus and subway). No discounts apply to express bus passes, commuter rail passes, or boat passes. Discounted rides and passes require a Senior CharlieCard available at the CharlieCard Store located in Downtown Crossing Station (Underground Concourse) Boston. Adjacent to the Red and Orange Lines at Downtown Crossing Station, the CharlieCard Store is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information call: 617-222-3200 or TTY: 617-222-5854 Or visit:

City of Boston Senior Shuttle The Senior Shuttle offers free door-to-door transportation service to Boston Senior residents age 60 and over. Rides are offered to non-emergency medical appointments. Several Senior Shuttles are wheelchair accessible. Call them to schedule an appointment because rides are scheduled on a first come first serve basis. For more information call: (617) 635-3000 Or visit:


All links are case-sensitive.

Taxi Discount Coupon Program City of Boston residents age 65 and over, as well as disabled residents of all ages may purchase coupon books worth $10 at a cost of $5 per book (a 50% discount) for all taxis licensed by the City of Boston. Taxi Coupons do not expire and all City of Boston licensed taxi cab drivers are required to accept them. A maximum of two books per person per month can be purchased and are only available to Boston residents with proper ID. Coupons can only be purchased with cash. Coupon books can be purchased at Boston City Hall, Room 271, or at various sites throughout the city. For more information call: 617-635-4366 Or visit:

NECC Woburn shuttle This shuttle travels from Andrew station to the South Bay Mall. The shuttle stops in front of Target, Stop and Shop, Best Buy, Marshalls, Tj Max and Office Max. The shuttle runs Monday through Saturday from 10:30am to 11:30pm and until 10:30pm on Sundays. Schedules vary on holidays. For more information call George at 781-994-1260

Paul Revere Transportation The Paul Revere shuttle only operates in South Boston, and much selected areas in Dorchester. The Shuttle runs Monday through Friday. Times vary depending on the location for pick up. The shuttle services start from 9:30 am to 12:30pm. The shuttle services L Street, West Ninth Street, Harbor Point, H Street, Ashmont, Englewood, Kelly House, Kit Clark, Bellflower and Star Market. For more information call Laron James at 617-445-4334

Boston offers a variety of transportation modes for residents and visitors alike to navigate in and around the City. For more information contact the City of Boston Transportation Department at: (617) 635-4680 Or visit:


Food Assistance Resources

Boston Bounty Bucks - Participating in Boston Bounty Bucks is simple. 1. Visit the market manager’s table at a participating farmers market and tell the person staffing the EBT machine how much you would like to spend at the market. 2. SNAP recipients can match up to $10 per day at participating farmers markets. 3. After using your EBT card you will be handed Bounty Bucks, plastic bills that you can use like cash with the market vendors. But note, that since this money is actually a federal benefit you cannot receive change for your purchases. 4. Shop at the market and enjoy your food! 5. If you do not spend all your Bounty Bucks, you can use them at a later date or at any other participating farmers market.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) (617) 626-1700 | 251 Causeway Street, Boston, MA Community Supported Agriculture allows people to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce. It’s a new way to invest in your local farmers and enjoy delicious, fresh food throughout the season.

Fair Foods $2-A-Bag of Groceries (617) 288-6185 | Contact for service locations Fair Foods sells $2 bag of groceries and each bag offers at least ten pounds of fresh and healthy food! There are no eligibility requirements, no registration, and no ID checks.

Food Pantries with Fresh, Local Produce (617) 635-3717 | Contact for service locations Fresh Truck (774) 213-1936 |

Fresh Truck is a mobile food market on a mission to support food access and community health in Boston. We carry the freshest fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. All at an affordable price.


All links are case-sensitive.

HelpSteps 1-800-847-0710 | 1010 Mass Ave, Boston HelpSteps is a social service referral system for Greater Boston. Find affordable housing, food, employment resources, and more.

Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) (617) 357-6000 | 178 Tremont Street, Boston

ABCD provides a variety of food services, food pantries, food stamp, and meal assistance programs offered throughout ABCD’s network of neighborhood sites allowing families in every Boston neighborhood to access food more easily.

Boston Foods (914) 582-8300 | Contact for more information

Healthy food at reduced prices, packaged into grocery bags and hand delivered to health centers by their friendly volunteers every month. Their classic box contains enough delicious groceries to last a family of four (4) a week at only $35. Other box options available.

Elderly Nutrition Programs (617) 635-4366 | 1 City Hall Square #271, Boston

The City of Boston administers the Elderly Nutrition Program for its seniors. All seniors over 60 and their spouse are eligible to eat at any of the approx. 40 congregate lunch sites throughout the city. The suggested donation for the meal is $2.00, to help defray the production and delivery cost of the meal.

Haley House Soup Kitchen (617) 236-8132 | 23 Dartmouth Street, Boston Project Bread FoodSource Hotline 1-800-645-8333 | Contact for more information

Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline is the only comprehensive statewide information and referral service in Massachusetts for people facing hunger.

For additional food assistance contact the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) at 1-877-382-2363


General Healthy Living Tips

Eat Healthy • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains every day. • Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. • Eat a balanced diet to help keep a healthy weight. • Keep an eye on the serving size and portion control. • Eat your three meals but, avoid eating late at night. • Consider using healthier ingredients and cooking methods for your recipes.

Be Active Be active for at least 2 1/2 hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day. Include activities that raise their breathing and heart rates and that strengthen their muscles and bones. Physical activity helps to: • Maintain weight • Reduce arthritis pain and associated disability • Reduce high blood pressure • Reduce risk for • Reduce risk for type 2 osteoporosis and falls diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and several forms of cancer • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety



Protect Yourself • Use seat belts, sunscreen, and insect repellent. • Wash hands to stop the spread of germs. • Keep up with your dental hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. • Build safe and healthy relationships with family and friends. • Be ready for emergencies. Gather emergency supplies. Make a plan. Be informed. • Avoid smoking and exposure to second hand smoke.

Remember Boston Housing Authority properties have a Non-Smoking Policy, you can report a violation through BHA’s Smoking Violation Report line by phone and email.

(617) 988-5030 You may also report a smoking violation in person at your management office.

Get Check Ups

Manage Stress

• Ask your doctor or nurse how you can lower your risk for health problems. • Find out what exams, tests, and shots you need and when to get them. • See your doctor or nurse for regular check-ups as often as directed. Get seen if you feel sick, have pain, notice changes, or have problems with medicine.

• Balance work, home, and play. • Get support from family and friends. • Stay positive. • Take time to relax. • Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Make sure kids get more, based on their age. • Get help or counseling if needed.





Handbook Committee Members Arlene Carr, Franklin Hill Development Meena Carr, Washington Beech Resident Board Lucy Cornier, South Street Tenants Organization Juanda Drumgold, Franklin Fields Elderly/Disabled Task Force Carol Johnson, Orient Heights Local Tenants Organization Julieta Lopez, Lenox-Camden Local Tenants Organization Michele McNickles, St. Botolph Task Force Valerie Shelley, Orchard Gardens Residents Association Edna Willrich, Section 8 Tenants Incorporated (S8TI)

Committee Staff from BHA Center for Community Engagement and Civil Rights (CCECR) Vivian W. Lee, Director of CCECR Edna Rivera-Carrasco, Resident Empowerment Program Manager Lorelee Stewart, PHH-REACH Project Coordinator Gerardo Ruiz-King, Language Access Specialist Amina Egal, PHH-REACH Youth Coordinator Ketsy Caraballo, PHH-REACH Resident Health Advocate Lumina Mathurin, PHH-REACH Resident Health Advocate

Research, Design, and Layout Gerardo Ruiz-King

Content Support Elisa Rodrigues, RDN, BPHC-Chronic Disease Prevention Division Rachel Goodman, Director, BHA-CCECR Community Services John Kane, Senior Program Coordinator, BHA Operations A special thank you to the Partners in Health and Housing Community Committee for their encouragement and Boston Public Health Commission Divisions of Chronic Disease Prevention and Healthy Homes and Community Supports for their assistance.


Follow us on Twitter: @BHA_CCECR @HealthyBoston Find us on Facebook: I am so pleased that the Health Commission has been able to support the development of the Healthy Food Purchasing Handbook. Our partnership with Boston Housing Authority and its residents has been one of our longest standing and most valuable relationships in improving the health of Boston’s residents. Access to healthy and affordable food is a key determinant of health and wellbeing. In recognition of the relationship between food and health, I am excited that the Commission has been able to contribute funding and technical assistance to support the development of this handbook. I commend the Boston Housing Authority on creating a simple guide to healthy purchasing and eating for residents and BHA Local Tenant Organizations in a process that actively involved BHA residents. Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH Executive Director, BPHC

Made possible by Boston REACH: Partners in Health and Housing with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Profile for Gerardo Ruiz-King

BHA Healthy Food Purchasing Handbook