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Ceres store hosts countys Fruit & Veggie Fest 2016
County promotes healthy eating
Ceres and Modesto EMTs Henry Benavides and Matt Trent take a moment to pose during the Ceres Fruit and Veggie Fest Saturday in front of Costless Market. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Courier

Zumba, karate, and healthy recipe cooking demonstrations were all part of Saturday's Fruit & Veggie Fest 2016 held at Cost Less Foods in Ceres. The event was sponsored by the store, California Champions for Change and the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency's Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention Program.

Held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., shoppers were treated to special offers, cooking demonstrations, taste and sampling nutritious and delicious recipes, Zumba and Karate demonstrations, raffles, prize wheels, and fun activities for the whole family all to encourage making healthier choices in every aisle. With a theme focused on the rainbow of color, flavor, and nutrition that fruits and vegetables offer, shoppers were encouraged to fill their carts with plenty of fresh, frozen, dried and canned produce.

"It's all about living a better lifestyle through healthy food choices," said Del Ambris, manager at Cost Less Foods. "It is important parents and their children are aware of the value of eating healthy and getting more fruits and veggies in their diet."

California's grocers are on the frontlines of the obesity epidemic, which is why the California Department of Public Health's Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch (NEOPB) works with many stores statewide to reach shoppers at the point of purchase. Surveys show that retail promotions can have a positive impact on how shoppers spend their food dollars and CalFresh benefits. From corner stores to supermarket chains, retail partnerships and in-store activities like Fruit and Veggie Fest are critical in the battle against obesity, particularly among low-income Californians who are at greater risk.

"Actually, eating healthy is very affordable and I make that comment to customers at the check stand. We support the California Champions for Change program with signage, recipe cards, and product placement of Harvest of the Month fruits and vegetables which help customers know the affordability of produce" said Ambris.