Now Entering the ‘Fry-Free Zone’

How pastors and lay advocates are helping congregations improve diets, prepare healthy food and develop exercise habits

by Michelle J. Barrett

For ten Syracuse, New York area inner-city churches, the traditional menu for church-sponsored events has undergone significant and deliberate revamping. For decades, picnics and year-round fellowship programs offered fried chicken, potato salad, white bread, pastries and soda. Now church kitchens are serving baked chicken, tossed salad, whole-wheat bread, fruit, one-percent milk, water, coffee and tea. […]

Interview

Mindful Eating: Changing Congregational Food Practices

Q & A with Noah Campbell

by Sarah Ranson

Noah Campbell is the executive director of the Memphis Center for Food and Faith (MCFF). The Center, part theological institute and part community development ministry, asks the simple question: Are we loving God and our neighbor with our food choices? Church Health Reader spoke with Noah about the Center’s work in engaging Memphis clergy and […]

Recipe

Quinoa Salad with Cranberries

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Parsley, lemon juice and cranberries make for a light but flavorful salad! Don’t be tricked by the low amount of calories—this dish is very filling! Pair it with baked fish for dinner or eat it as your main course for a healthful lunch. Quinoa is a perfect protein and is gluten free, so it’s a […]

Church Meals Lead the Way

First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Seattle, WA

by Church Health Reader Editors

“Alot of eating goes on at church,” says Rita Howard, president of faith and health ministries at First African Methodist Episcopal Church (FAME) in Seattle, Washington. “ A church is a central community hub that brings people together to eat and meet, so it’s the perfect place to start impacting people’s diets in a positive, […]

Sharing in the Baking of Bread

by Darian Duckworth

I had gathered the supplies and prepared the equipment. The instructions were on the countertop at my eyes’ height, and the phone was within an arm’s reach in case of emergency. I took a deep breath. I reached for the flour. The baking of bread had officially begun. As a pastor, bread is not a […]

Recipe

Mediterranean Wrap

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Sundried tomatoes, chickpeas and basil bring the flavors of the Mediterranean to your plate in this delightful treat. Balsamic vinegar and lemon juice kick up the flavor in this high-protein, meat-free meal. Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are delicious in dips, soups, salads—fresh or cooked! Prep time: 20 minutes Total time: 35 minutes Makes 4 […]

Recipe

Southern Caviar

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

This dip is great tucked inside a pita or eaten with tortilla chips. Take this to work for your lunch or use it as an afternoon snack! Beans are a nutritional powerhouse. They are loaded with nutrients, including fiber and protein. Another benefit: they are very inexpensive! Total time: 10 minutes Makes 14 servings Serving […]

Recipe

Chicken Stir Fry with Broccoli and Cashews

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

This main course is filling and packed with tons of vegetables and protein! Add more or less of anything based on your preference. Try it as is, but never be afraid to add more green veggies! Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes Makes 4 servings Serving Size: ½ cup of rice; 1 ½ […]

Recipe

Edamame Succotash with Shrimp

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Makes 4 servings Serving Size: about 1 ½ cups Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 305; Total Fat: 9 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 486 mg; Carbohydrate: 26 g; Fiber: 7 g; Protein: 30 g Ingredients: 2 slices bacon 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, chopped 3 […]

Recipe

Summer Panzanella Salad

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

This healthy and delicious salad is light but filling. Perfect for warm summer evenings! Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Makes 6 servings Serving Size: 1 ½ cups Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 244; Total Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Sodium: 360 mg; Carbohydrate: 31 g; Fiber: 8 g; Protein: 9 […]

Building Community on the Roof

Hell's Kitchen Farm Project

by Church Health Reader Editors

Located in the middle of Manhattan, Metro Baptist Church seems an unlikely setting for agriculture. But by utilizing community partnerships and untapped building space, this congregation in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City has developed a small-scale rooftop vegetable farm known as the Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project. With a building already at capacity, […]

Providing Food for the Body and Soul

by Church Health Reader Editors

Located in Memphis, Tenn., Caritas Village is a community coffee shop and cultural center in Binghampton, one of the city’s most diverse and underserved neighborhoods. The Village was founded as a “ministry of presence” in 2006 by Onie Johns, a retired nurse and medical administrator who left her suburban neighborhood in 2000 to live and […]

Holy Comfort

Gardening as a means to mental health

by Stacy Smith

Like many in her neighborhood, Teresa relies on Holy Comforter Episcopal Church. Yet today, Teresa doesn’t feel like church. She tells Father Mike Tanner, the vicar at Holy Comforter, “Father Mike, I have schizophrenia.” He responds, “What is schizophrenia? You tell me.” She says, “Schizophrenia is hearing voices. It is a mental illness. It hurts.” […]

Recipe

Lemon Green Beans

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Serving Size: ½ cup Makes: 4 servings Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 53; Total Fat: 4 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 152 mg; Carbohydrate: 4 g; Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 1 Ingredients: 1 tablespoon light unsalted butter ½ tablespoon olive oil 1 garlic clove, halved 2 […]

Recipe

Gouda Macaroni and Cheese

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

This Gouda Macaroni and Cheese minimizes the fat while spinach and whole-wheat ingredients boost the flavor and the nutritional value. Prep Time: 10 minutes; Total Time: 35 minutes Serving Size: a little less than ¾ cup Makes: 8 Servings Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 200; Total Fat: 5 g; Sodium: 212 mg; Carbohydrate: 27 g; […]

Interview

Living in a Land of Abundance

Q&A with Joel Soza

by John Shorb

Joel Soza is the author of Food and God: A Theological Approach to Eating, Diet, and Weight Control. He is also the associate professor of Old Testament at Malone University in Canton, Ohio and an itinerant preacher, teacher, and musician. Church Health Reader spoke with him about food, faith and the theology that connects them […]

Interview

Food and Drink

Q&A with Elizabeth Groppe

by John Shorb

Theologian Elizabeth Groppe examines Christian practices around food and drink in her book Eating and Drinking published by the Fortress Compass series. In this interview, she gives a glimpse into the biblical depth of her work on these essential practices. John Shorb: What do you see as the general Christian approach toward food and drink? […]

Book Review

Blessed Be Our Table

Graces for Mealtimes and Reflections on Food

reviewed by Stacy Smith

Blessed Be Our Table is a wide compilation of blessings, devotions, music, prayer and poetry centered around food and justice. Paynter mines the rich wisdom and tradition of the Iona Community in western Scotland, as well as other communities around the world, to assemble a creative spiritual resource with chapter titles like “Christ our host, […]

At Work in God’s Garden

Community gardening is practical and theological, personal and communal

by Kendra Hotz & Matthew Mathews

In the beginning, God created a garden. Genesis 2 describes how God made the plants of the field and streams of the earth, breathed life into the first human and placed him in the Garden. Humankind, it would seem, was created to be at home in a garden. Yet many of us live far away […]

10 Tips for Starting a Church Garden

by Timothy Goldman

A garden is a wonderful ministry for a faith community. Gardens are places of gathering, hospitality and celebration. Given proper planning and upkeep, a church garden could provide thousands of pounds of nutritious, organically grown food to families in need, as well as habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife for years to come. Have a […]

Sacred Meals

Reclaiming the Gospel Practice of Commensality

by Daniel Deffenbaugh

Jesus was always feeding and eating. He fed the 5,000. He shared meals with his disciples. He turned water into wine and broke bread with outcasts. Too often we forget that one of the main charges leveled against him by some of the Pharisees was that he was a glutton and a drunkard. Jesus clearly […]

Recipe

Tex-Mex Breakfast Burrito

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Makes 6 burritos Serving Size: 1 burrito Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 240; Total Fat: 12 grams; Sodium: 450 mg; Carbohydrate: 22 grams Fiber: 16 grams; Protein: 18 grams Ingredients: 6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled 5 eggs, lightly beaten ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, low fat ¼ cup […]

Recipe

Spinach-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 15 minutes Serving Size: 4 servings Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 100; Cholesterol 10 mg; Total Fat: 4 grams; Sodium: 490 mg; Carbohydrate: 10 grams; Fiber: 3 grams; Protein: 9 grams; Saturated fat 1.5g Ingredients: 4 large portabella mushrooms (about 1 lb), cleaned ¼ cup lightly zesty Italian reduced fat dressing, divided ¼ […]

Recipe

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes Makes 12 stuffed shells Serving Size: 2 stuffed shells Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 180; Total Fat: 4 grams; Sodium: 256 mg; Carbohydrate: 32 grams; Fiber: 3 grams; Protein: 11 grams Ingredients: 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed 1 canned artichoke hearts, chopped into small pieces 1 cup […]

Recipe

Spaghetti Alfredo with Crisp Green Beans

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Total Time: 30 minutes Makes 8 servings Serving Size: 1 cup Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 296; Total Fat: 11 grams; Sodium: 363 mg; Carbohydrate: 35 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Protein: 15 grams Ingredients: 2 cups 1% low-fat milk 1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt 1teaspoonbutter 3garlic […]

Recipe

Rosemary Potatoes

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Makes 6 servings Serving Size: 1/6th potato mixture Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 156; Total Fat: 5 grams; Sodium: 12 mg; Carbohydrate: 27 grams; Fiber: 5 gram; Protein: 3 gram Ingredients: 6 large red potatoes, scrubbed clean and sliced thin 3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped fine 2 […]

Recipe

Quick Marinated Shrimp and Pasta

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Total Time: 15 minutes Makes: 4 servings Serving Size: ¼ of shrimp and 1 cup pasta (2 oz dry pasta = 1 cup cooked) Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 393; Total Fat: 9 grams; Sodium: 462 mg; Carbohydrate: 40 grams; Fiber: 6 grams; Protein: 37 grams Ingredients: 3 tablespoons minced garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil […]

Recipe

Pumpkin-Black Bean Soup

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

This hearty soup is packed with flavor and nutritional value. This filling recipe is sure to become a staple for your family. Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Makes 6 Serving Size: 1 cup, 2 Tablespoons cheese and 1 Tablespoon green onions, 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 175; Total […]

Recipe

Pumpkin Scones

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Ditch the doughnuts and bake these scones for your Sunday School coffee hour. Whole-wheat flour and pumpkin adds fiber to this treat and the cinnamon glaze adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Serving Size: 1 scone Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 250; Total Fat: 5 grams; Saturated […]

Recipe

Pecan Crusted Chicken

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Makes: 4 servings Serving Size: 1 piece Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 276; Total Fat: 8 grams; Sodium: 398 mg; Carbohydrate: 18 grams; Fiber: 2 grams; Protein: 26 grams Ingredients: ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 4 (4 ounce) skinned chicken breast halves 1 Tablespoon honey 1 Tablespoon Sugar Free pancake syrup 1 Tablespoon […]

Recipe

Italian Family Bake

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Makes 6 servings Serving Size: 1 cup Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 260; Total Fat: 7 grams; Sodium: 520 mg; Carbohydrate: 30 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Protein: 16 grams Ingredients: 8 ounces cooked whole wheat penne noodles 2 eggs or ½ cup egg substitute ¾ cup grated […]

Recipe

Honey Glazed Fruit Salad

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin C and Manganese. Prep time: 15 minutes Makes 10 servings Serving Size: ½ cup Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 155; Total Fat: 5 grams; […]

Recipe

Herbed Chicken and Dumplings

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Makes 2 servings Serving Size: about 2 cups Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 310; Total Fat: 4 grams; Sodium: 596 mg; Carbohydrate: 41 grams; Fiber: 6 grams; Protein: 28 grams Ingredients: 6 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces ¾ cup celery, finely […]

Recipe

Fennel and Walnut Winter Salad

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

The oil and nuts in this salad provide a heart-healthy balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats, a generous amount of antioxidants and a good supply of protein and fiber. Total Time: 20 minutes Makes 4 servings Serving Size: 2 cups each Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 211; Total Fat: 19 grams; Sodium: 210 mg; Carbohydrate: […]

Recipe

Eggplant Zucchini Casserole

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Makes 8 servings Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 210; Total Fat: 6 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Sodium: 187 mg; Carbohydrate: 16 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Protein: 11 grams Ingredients: Cooking spray 2 8-ounce cans no-added-salt tomato sauce 2 teaspoons low-sodium Worcestershire sauce Black pepper to taste 2 teaspoon oregano […]

Recipe

Edamame Supper

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Edamame (fresh, green soybeans) are found in the natural-foods freezer section of large supermarkets and natural-foods stores, sold both in and out of the “pods.” For this recipe, you’ll need the shelled edamame. One 10-ounce bag contains about 2 cups of shelled beans. Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Makes 4 servings Serving […]

Recipe

Creole Chicken Pasta

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Total Time: 60 minutes Makes 6 servings Serving Size: 1/2 cup pasta with 2/3 cup sauce Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 321; Total Fat: 16 grams; Sodium: 312 mg; Carbohydrate: 34 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Protein: 11 grams Ingredients: ¼ cup olive oil ¼ cup all-purpose flour 1 large onion, chopped 1 green bell pepper, […]

Recipe

Cranberry Chicken Salad

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Makes 6 servings Serving Size: 1/6th mixture Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 227; Total Fat: 6 grams; Sodium: 139 mg; Carbohydrate: 18 grams; Fiber: 3 grams; Protein: 20 grams Ingredients: 1 pound chopped cooked chicken 1 cup chopped celery 3/4 cup chopped red onion 3/4 cup dried cranberries 1 cup reduced fat poppy seed dressing Dash […]

Recipe

Coconut Tilapia and Apricot Dipping Sauce

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Makes 4 fillets Serving Size: 1 fillet Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 195; Total Fat: 10 grams; Sodium: 312 mg; Carbohydrate: 7 grams; Fiber: 1 gram; Protein: 14.5 grams Ingredients: 3/4th cup unsweetened flaked coconut, chopped 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1/8th teaspoon ground black pepper 1/4th […]

Recipe

Chickpea and Spinach Soup with Shrimp

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

This soup has lots of garlic and though it may taste creamy, there isn’t a drop of cream or milk in this hearty soup. Blending potatoes, chickpeas and onions provides a healthy alternative without sacrificing any flavor. Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes Makes 10 cups Serving Size: 1 1/3 cup Nutrition Facts (per serving): […]

Recipe

Butternut Squash Soup

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Makes 6 servings Serving Size: 1/6 of soup Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 123; Total Fat 3.5 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Cholesterol: 3.5 grams; Sodium 375 mg; Carbohydrate: 24 grams; Fiber: 3 grams; Protein: 2 grams Ingredients: 2 large butternut squash, seeded and halved lengthwise 1 […]

Recipe

Brussel Sprouts

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

If you’ve never liked Brussels sprouts, this is the recipe to try – you might change your mind. Prep Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes Makes 6 servings Serving Size: ½ cup each Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 87; Total Fat: 3 grams; Sodium: 180 mg; Carbohydrate: 13 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Protein: […]

Recipe

Broccoli Lasagna Spirals

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Makes 10 servings (halve the recipe for fewer servings) Serving Size: 1 lasagna roll Nutrition Facts: Calories: 186; Fat: 6 grams; Saturated fat: 3 grams; Carbohydrates: 24 grams; Cholesterol: 15 mg; Fiber: 2 grams Ingredients: 10 wide lasagna noodles 2 (10 ounce) packages chopped frozen broccoli, thawed and […]

Recipe

Blended Mocha Freeze

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Get the taste of a coffeehouse drink with fewer calories and less fat with this mocha freeze. Make this for your Sunday School coffee hour or have your Youth Group make it for a quick, fun treat! Prep Time: 5 minutes Serving Size: 2 cups Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 93; Total Fat: 0 grams; […]

Recipe

Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

  Bean Burgers These burgers are great topped with guacamole. Ingredient Note: Quinoa is a delicately flavored, protein-rich whole grain. Rinsing removes any residue of saponin, quinoa’s natural, bitter protective covering. Find it in natural-foods stores and the natural-foods sections of many supermarkets. They cook up quickly in around 10 minutes, which makes it quick […]

Recipe

Baked Spring Rolls

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Makes 12 servings Serving Size: 1 spring roll Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 138; Total Fat: 5 grams; Sodium: 200 mg; Carbohydrate: 19 grams; Fiber: 1 gram; Protein: 4 grams Ingredients: 1 cup finely shredded cabbage ¼ cup finely shredded carrot 2 green onions, thinly sliced 2 […]

Recipe

Asparagus Salad

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Makes 6 servings Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 61; Total Fat: 3 grams; Sodium: 223 mg; Carbohydrate: 9 grams; Fiber: 2 grams; Protein: 3 grams Ingredients: 2 pounds asparagus, (about 2 bunches), trimmed 1 pint tiny cherry tomatoes 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil ½ teaspoon salt Freshly […]

Recipe

Asian Baked Salmon

developed by Church Health Center Wellness

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Makes 6 servings Serving Size: 5 ounces Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories: 229; Total Fat: 12 grams; Sodium: 329 mg; Carbohydrate: 5 grams; Fiber: less than 1 gram; Protein: 33 grams Ingredients                                 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard 3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive […]