Free healthy food tasting on the boardwalk Saturday

Long Branch — A free healthy food tasting events will take place at Ray and Steve’s West End Beach Hut located at 21 Ocean Ave in Long Branch on Saturday, August 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event is conducted by the Shaping Long Branch Healthy Community Network to encourage local residents, students, and beach visitors to embrace healthy food options and prevent chronic disease.

EZ Ride, with assistance from the Monmouth Medical Center and the City of Long Branch, will be offering free health screening, healthy food tastings, a nutrition game, and coupons that can be redeemed for healthy snacks or drinks at Ray & Steve’s Beach Hut.

The network conducted a similar event last Sunday, Aug. 20, and in June, EZ Ride, with assistance from Rutgers SNAP-Ed, Monmouth Medical Center and the Long Branch Health Department held a similar event at the Broadway Food Market.

That June event was timed to catch students and parents as they walked home on the last day of school. Monmouth Medical Center provided free blood pressure screening for adults, the EZ Ride team served about 100 samples of bananas and strawberry yogurt, and the Rutgers SNAP-Ed team dispensed 94 cups of a delicious low-sugar hibiscus cranberry iced tea, along with recipes and tea bags.

Additionally, everybody was invited to play a game to guess the amount of sugar in their favorite drinks. Many were surprised to learn that drinks such as soda or an energy drink contained as much as 14 teaspoons of sugar. Students were amazed at the amount of sugar in their favorite drinks.

Residents received Heart Healthy Coupons that could be redeemed for bananas, oranges, pears, or a bottle of drinkable yogurt.

Store owner Jose Taveras was pleased with the number of people who participated in the event and the number of local students who redeemed coupons and chose healthy snacks. The Shaping Long Branch-Healthy Community Network team includes EZ Ride, the City of Long Branch, Long Branch Health Department, Monmouth Medical Center, Rutgers SNAP-Ed, the Long Branch School District, Monmouth County Habitat for Humanity, the Long Branch Concordance and is funded by the NJ Department of Health.