Churches United for Healthy Congregations

Improving health through faith and behavioral change

A Healthier You!

Healthy Recipes and Activities to make good health fit into your lifestyle!

"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.  We need not wait to see what others do."
                                                                ~ Mahatma Gandhi


Getting the most nutrition for your food budget starts with a little extra planning before you shop. There are many ways to save money on the foods that you eat. Here are some budget-friendly tips for eating right.
Adding Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet

 Even though most of us know by now that adding fruits and vegetables to our diet is a healthy thing to do, many of us still shy away from doing so. Sometimes the effort to be creative in the kitchen just seems like too much work.  The link below will take you to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's More Matters webpage.  Scroll down to Adult Recipe Cards for some easy and delicious recipes from around the world that use a variety of fruits and veggies.  Each recipe also gives the nutritional information for the foods used. Why not try some of these tasty dishes soon?  Link here.

Get Spirit Filled With This 12 Week Walking Plan! 

Thanks to CUFHC member Dale Watson for adapting this 12 week walking plan from the National Episcopal Health Ministries and for sharing it with all of us.  Click here to see the modified plan that you can use to get your congregation up and moving!  CUFHC liaisons can introduce this plan or use it to create your own, for the purpose of starting a walking initiative at church or adding to existing walking initiatives you may already have in place. You can use this for the church congregants, invite folks from the neighborhoods as part of your outreach ministry or make it a daily family event. The intent is to gets folks moving and the scripture for each week adds spirituality to the mission.  Our hope is that the liaisons can get the ministers on board and share the scripture with the congregation each sermon as a means to motivate them for the week and show support for their efforts. To see the original National Episcopal Health Ministries plan that gives some more detail for planning purposes, click here.

Mason Jar Salads

Mason jar salads
are very trendy these days. They are not only a quick and easy was to make a salad, the jar and seal keeps the salad fresh for days! You can even put the dressing in the jar and it will not mix with the rest of the salad until you are ready. Just make sure you put the dressing in first and layer it with hearty veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers and onions before you add the lettuce. For some great salad recipes, click here.
14 Days of Delicious Heart Healthy Recipes

We all try to eat right. The hard part is sticking with it!  Everything is just too tempting. Here is a great guide for 14 days of healthy eating. All you have to do is follow it.  Designed with balanced fats in mind, the folks at Smart Balance have put out this guide for you.  Researchers at Brandeis University have discovered that the right blend of fats can help support healthy cholesterol levels
by improving the ratio of “good” HDL cholesterol to “bad” LDL cholesterol.  Every one of our Food Plan meals is easy to prepare and fits into a busy lifestyle. Recipes for all of the meals shown in the 14-day menu plan can be found at With just a few clicks you can download all of the recipes in the Food Plan, or browse our recipe database for additional heart-healthier, balanced fat menu ideas. Click here for the 14 day guide.

One Month Healthy Meal Planner Can Help you Keep Your Weight Down

Because carrying around extra weight is hard on your joints, eating healthfully can really benefit individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis. You want to keep your weight down and your carbohydrate intake within reasonable levels. So how is that done without sacrificing taste or feeling hungry all day? Each of the following pages maps out a full week of meals for you to enjoy. Click here for meal planner.
The Eat Seasonably Calendar

 Every fruit and vegetable has its season- the time of year when you can enjoy it at its very best! Now there is a handy little calendar that lets you know when the best time to buy is! Just  Click here to see the Eat Seasonably Calendar.

Try Some of These Healthy Substitutions!

 Did you know Cardiovasular disease is the number one killer of women?  Did you know African American adults are more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease, and they are more likely to die from heart disease? Making small changes in diet and exercising can significantly reduce risks for heart disease. Also, substituting simple ingredients can change an unhealthy meal into a meal that is good for our hearts. 

These suggestions will lower saturated fat and calories.  Add herbs and spices instead of salt to enhance the flavor of your meal.

Recipe calls for:                     Substitute:

Whole milk                                Use fat-free or low-fat milk (1%)
Cream                                       Evaporated fat-free milk,
Sour cream                               Fat-free or low-fat sour cream
Mayonnaise                              Fat-free or low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup of butter                          1 cup tub margarine or 2/3 cup vegetable oil
Oil (for baking)                          Equal amounts of applesauce or prune puree
Oil (for sauteing)                       Water, non-stick cooking spray, or low-sodium broth
1 Whole egg                              ¼ cup egg substitutes or 2 egg whites
Ground beef                              Extra lean ground beef or turkey
Sausage                                    Turkey sausage (10% or less fat) or vegetarian sausage
Salad dressing                           Fat-free or low fat dressing or flavored vinaigrette
Cream soup                               Fat-free or low-fat canned cream soup

 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Heart Healthy Home Cooking African American Style: With Every Heartbeat is Life. NIH, 2011. Print.

The Perfect Vegetable Pesto Pizza

Presenting the perfect vegetable pizza recipe outfitted with its own homemade pesto and all! Whether it's the effortlessness of the recipe, the pizza's colorful appearance, or the flavors from the variety of fresh produce and homemade pesto, there are so many reasons to make this pizza! If you don't have time to cook, it can be made in advance and frozen so you'll have a yummy treat anytime you like! Click here for website and recipe.
Dr. Berg's Healthiest Pizza


2 cups grated cauliflower
2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
2 eggs
Pizza or spaghetti sauce with no added sugar
Fresh basil
Turkey pepperoni

Mix together  the grated cauliflower, shredded cheese and 2 eggs.   Place the mixture on a round aluminum pizza pan that you cover with parchment paper.  Parchment paper is very important to avoid sticking.

Press the mixture and round it out so that it spreads around to the edges of the pan. Keep flattening it until it is spread across the pan to the edges.

Cook the crust for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.

Take out the pan from the oven and pour the pizza sauce (or spaghetti sauce) onto the center of the pan and spread it around.  Use sauce that has no added sugar.  Don’t use too much sauce.  Then spread more mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Add mushrooms, fresh basil and pepperoni.  Put back in oven at 425 degrees for seven minutes.

This is a delicious, healthy pizza that will not make you gain weight.  Watch video on You Tube. 

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash can be used in place of pasta because the flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands after it’s cooked. Nutritional values are based on a ¾ cup portion of pasta and 2/3 cup portion of spaghetti squash.

For those looking to reduce carbohydrate intake and calories, spaghetti squash has only 7 grams of carbohydrates per serving compared to pasta’s 31 grams. 27 calories per serving compared to 158 calories in pasta.  Squash contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that may protect your eyes from age-related diseases.

Both have unique nutritional benefits that surpass the other. For people with Diabetes, spaghetti squash may be a tasty, alternative to pasta, but is good for everybody.

The ingredient amounts are approximate.

Prepare the spaghetti squash by cutting it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds.
      Cover halves with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
      Scrape a fork across the flesh to separate it into strands.  Option: Top it with sautéed asparagus

ips,and mushrooms, in 2 teaspoons of olive oil and garlic.

You can serve the squash the same way you would pasta; use your favorite sauce with vegetables or drizzle olive oil and sprinkle low-fat Parmesan cheese over the top. Each half, depending on the size of the squash makes one meal.

Yummy Nine Bean Salad

This is an easy-to-make delicious salad that you can serve to to your family or to a large group. Great for a pot luck!  It  is very filling and packed with protein.  The secret is in the dressing and letting everything marinate for at least four hours. Enjoy!

1 15-to16 oz. can each of light red kidney beans, dark red kidney beans, pinto beans, Lima beans, Great Northern beans, black beans, cut green beans, butter beans and garbanzo beans. Rinse and drain all the beans.

1 small red bell pepper
1 small red onion chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (oregano, marjoram, rosemary, basil and or thyme)
1 cup Balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar (or use 2 packets of Stevia)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 large garlic cloves minced
1 to 2 tsps. Cayenne
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil

In a very large bowl combine beans, bell pepper, onion and celery.  Stir in tomatoes.  Set aside.

For the dressing, in a medium bowl combine herbs, vinegar, sugar or natural sweetner, parsley, mustard, garlic and cayenne. Whisk in oil.  Add t bean mixture; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Stir before serving.   Serves  24.

220 calories per serving (less if you use Splenda and cut the oil in half), 10g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 475 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 7g protein

How About Some Shrimp on the Barbie?

 Barbecued Shrimp

 This recipe is adapted from Gullah Cuisine, by Charlotte Jenkins and William Baldwin. Gullah Cuisine restaurant is in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

1 cup(s) tomato sauce
1/2 cup(s) Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup(s) (about 1 lemon) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup(s) fish stock or water
4 tablespoon(s) (about 8 cloves) minced garlic
1 tablespoon(s) white vinegar
1 teaspoon(s) olive oil
3 tablespoon(s) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon(s) chili powder
2 teaspoon(s) dry mustard powder
1 bay leaf
1 pound(s) medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
12 metal or wood skewers

1. Combine all ingredients, except shrimp and skewers, in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool to room temperature. Put the shrimp in a container and pour the sauce over them. Cover and refrigerate for 3 1/2 hours or up to overnight, turning shrimp once halfway through. When ready to cook, drain the shrimp, reserving sauce. Return sauce to a small pot and heat until boiling. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Place 3 or 4 shrimp on each skewer.
2. Heat a charcoal grill or grill pan over medium heat. Cook the skewered shrimp about 2 minutes per side, or until the shrimp are pink and firm to the touch. Serve hot with reserved sauce for dipping.

Looking for a quick and easy dessert?

Angel food cake with fruit and yogurt topping is an easy and delicious quick dessert! 
Angel Food cake (you can even get a sugar free one if you like)
Your favorite fruit ..blueberries and strawberries are good and make it very colorful
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
Sweeten yogurt to taste with sugar substitute like
Sweet N Low or Splenda.
Cut up your favorite fruit and spoon over the cake. Mix the sweetener into the yogurt and top the cake with yogurt.  This healthy recipe is surprisingly delicious!  

Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux

This is a tasty and different type of collard dish for you to try! 

1 tablespoon(s) sea salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) sea salt, combined with above sea salt
2 bunch(es) (about 12 cups) collard greens, ribs removed, cut into strips, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
2 clove(s) garlic, minced
2/3 cup(s) raisins
1/3 cup(s) fresh-squeezed orange juice

1. In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts (12 cups) water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the collards and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water.
2. Remove the collards from heat, drain, and plunge into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking and set the color. Drain, gently pressing the greens against the colander.
3. In a medium-size sauté pan, combine olive oil and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute on medium heat. Add the collards, raisins, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the orange juice and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Do not overcook (collards should remain bright green). Season with additional salt to taste if needed and serve immediately.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour
1⁄2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1⁄4 cup white sugar
11⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
(can substitute nutmeg or ginger, use whatever you like best)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1⁄2 cup roasted pumpkin puree
(canned is OK too, make sure it’s pure pumpkin without added sugar)
2⁄3 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
3 tbsp. canola oil
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
Nonstick cooking spray
Optional: 1⁄2 cup chopped nuts or dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, mix flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a medium bowl, mix egg, egg white, pumpkin, yogurt, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Don’t over mix, the batter can be lumpy.

Stir in nuts or dried fruits if desired.

Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with paper muffin cups. Fill each cup 3⁄4 full with batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes on middle rack of oven, or until muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool before serving.

Makes 12 muffins, each muffin is 150 calories.

Heart Healthy Home Cooking- African American Style

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a great little booklet full of yummy and healthy recipes!   Its called heart Healthy Home Cooking African American Style.  Why don't you check it out?

Southern Banana Pudding

This traditional dessert with a healthy twist will please your entire family. It is so yummy you will not believe it is healthy!  This recipe is taken from the Heart Healthy Home Cooking African American Style Cookbook featured above. 
  3¾ cups cold, fat-free milk
2 small packages (4 serving size) of fat-free,
sugar-free instant vanilla pudding and pie-filling mix
 32 reduced-fat vanilla wafers
 2 medium bananas, sliced
 2 cups fat-free, frozen whipped topping, thawed
1.  Mix 3½ cups of the milk with the pudding mixes. Beat the pudding
mixture with a wire whisk for 2 minutes until it is well blended. Let
stand for 5 minutes.
2.  Fold 1 cup of the whipped topping into the pudding mix.
3.  Arrange a layer of wafers on the bottom and sides of a 2-quart
serving bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the remaining milk over
the wafers. Add a layer of banana slices and top with one-third
of the pudding.
4.  Repeat layers, drizzling wafer layer with remaining milk and
ending with pudding. Spread the remaining whipped topping
over the pudding.
5.Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Hungarian Cabbage Rolls 

Hungarian Cabbage Rolls



  • 1 med onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T (30 g) olive oil
  • 1 lb (454 g) each ground pork and ground beef (Healthy substitute: Ground turkey)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 g) salt
  • 2 tsp (8 g) pepper
  • 1 T (7 g) paprika
  • 1 C (161 g) cooked rice


  • 2 heads green cabbage
  • Large pot of boiling water


  • 1 T (7 g) paprika
  • 1 tsp (5 g) salt
  • 2 tsp (8 g) pepper
  • 1 (14.5 oz) (444 g) can tomato soup
  • 1 (14.5 oz) (444 g) can sauerkraut
  • 1 (28 oz) (858 g) can diced tomatoes


  • Sour cream


Filling: Sauté onion in oil until soft; add meat, garlic, salt, pepper and paprika; cook until browned. Drain off any excess fat and transfer filling to a bowl; stir in rice.

Wrap: Core cabbages; place whole cabbage in a boiling water just until outer leaves. Remove, and peel off outer wilted leaves. Return cabbage to water; repeating process until all leaves have been peeled from cabbage.

Sauce & Assembly Combine all sauce ingredients in a pot and simmer. Place 1-2 T (14-28 g) of filling in each cabbage leaf; fold sides in and roll up. If desired, use a toothpick to secure. Carefully place rolls into sauce and simmer 60-90 minutes or until tender. Serve rolls garnished with a dollop of sour cream.

  • Prep time: 30 minutes.
  • Cook time: 60-90 minutes
  • Makes 10 servings.  

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

4 medium sweet potatoes
11⁄2 tsp. of paprika
1 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper
1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. canola oil
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 F. Scrub and rinse sweet potatoes. Pat dry with a paper or kitchen towel. Leaving skin on, cut sweet potatoes into thick French fry strips about 1⁄2 inch wide. Mix spices in a large mixing bowl, then add the oil and whisk until there are no lumps. Toss the French fries in the bowl until they are evenly coated. Line a baking sheet with foil, then coat with cooking spray and place sweet potatoes in single layer on the sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn fries over and bake for another 15 minutes or until fries are cooked through and tender.

Serves six people, 8 to 10 fries each, 90 calories per serving

(Recipes adapted from Cooking Matters.)
30 Ways to a More Physically Active You!

Sometimes we need a little push to get us going in the right direction. Check out this 30 day
guide to a healthier you!  Full of things you can do each day to stay on track. 
You can also download this guide to share with others.  Link here.

St. Petersburg's New Health Initiative- Healthy St. Pete!

   When Florida’s 67 counties were ranked using the model developed by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Pinellas County ranked 33rd in Health Outcomes, Quality of Life and Length of Life. It also showed that the leading causes of death in Pinellas County are chronic diseases, including cancer – most prevalently lung cancer – as well as heart disease.
   This data, and the information provided by our own Pinellas County Health Department, verified what many of us already suspected, or even knew: behavioral risk factors such as poor nutrition and limited physical activity affect the health of our community. Income, neighborhood, gender and race also impact access to health care and affect health outcomes.
   These are outcomes that we can change by working together. To visit the Healthy St. Pete website and learn more about what the City and its partners are doing to resolve these issues, click here.

Distinctive Causes of Death By State

National Public Radio (NPR) recently profiled an analysis of mortality records that uncovered the most distinctive cause of death in each state. In Texas, it's tuberculosis. In Maine, the flu. And in Nevada, it's "legal intervention." Click here to find out more.

Latest Obesity Map for United States

The latest CDC map detailing the prevalence of obesity for all U.S. states based on 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data is now available at Three additional maps demonstrate obesity prevalence by race/ethnicity for each state.

Check Out Our New Link-Drugwatch is a comprehensive resource about dangerous side effects and complications from commonly prescribed drugs and oft-used medical devices. Their mission is to educate people about medications they take and the devices that are in their bodies and then to provide resources to help people evaluate whether they have a legal case because of life-changing side effects or complications. is updated constantly with new information about research breakthroughs, clinical trials, recalls and warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By making you aware of the risks of certain medications and medical devices, Drugwatch gives you a better chance for quality of life and survival. Go to the links page.

Know Someone Who Needs a Mammogram but Can't Afford One?

Many women who are not insured or "under-insured" forgo getting a mammogram due to the cost.  Pinellas County has two programs that are here to help!  Our Women's Heath page offers more information about no cost mammograms and where to get them.  Just click here to go to the Women's Health page and scroll down that page to Mammograms.

Home Visitation Programs in Pinellas

The Home Visiting Advisory Council of the Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas, Inc. has put together a two page summary sheet of all the home visitation programs in Pinellas. For those of you who work with expectant and new moms in your congregations, this is a very handy resource sheet.  Check it out on our Women's Health page!

Stroke Support Group

Whether you have suffered a stroke or care for someone who has, you are eligible to attend Northside Hospital's Stroke Support Group. The group which is facilitated by a registered nurse, meets the first Tuesday of the month at 6006 49th Street N., St. Petersburg at 3:00 pm. For more information, call toll free 1-888-598-9586.

Issue Brief:Analysis of Obesity Rates By State

Twelve states currently have an adult obesity rate above 30 percent, according to a new analysis released by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The analysis used the state obesity rates released made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity at 34.9 percent, while Colorado had the lowest rate at 20.7 percent. Twenty-six of the 30 states with the highest obesity rates are in the Midwest and South. Florida came in at 26.6%.   More

Recent Blog Entries

Check Out the Spirit Filled Walking Plan

Walk in Peace and improve your health with the Spirit Filled 12 Week Walking Plan.
This is a simple plan that you can use in your congregations to get folks moving. 
Click here to go to our "A Healthier You" section to see the plan.

Overwhelmed By Federal Grant Writing Requirements?

Then don't miss our new Links Page addition for aspiring grant writers!  HRSA has put out a technical assistance website to help you write that award winning grant application. Just click here and scroll to the end.

Free Health and Wellness Phamplets


Looking for some accurate and helpful health information to give out to your congregation? Go4Life at the National Institute on Aging has some for you....for free. Just click here to go to their website.

Educate Yourself! Don't Fall!

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury, death, and disability for Floridians age 65 and over?  As a state that ranks first in the nation in the percentage of its residents who are elders, educating our seniors and their caregivers on how to prevent falls in homes and assisted living and medical facilities is vital to the safety of our population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately one-third of all Americans age 65 and older will suffer a fall each year. Particularly disturbing is the CDC's estimate of 1,800 annual deaths among nursing home residents from fall-related injuries. The most recent Florida Department of Health data show that in 2009, 1,714 Florida seniors suffered fatal injuries and 42,754 others were hospitalized for nonfatal injuries from falls. Traumatic brain injuries were associated with 46 percent of the fall fatalities, while hip fractures related to 32 percent of deaths from falls.

Since the majority of falls occur within or around a place of residence, you can prevent a fall by providing some simple home modifications. Hallways and entrance ways need to be clear. Certain furniture arrangements are better than others. The telephone should be easily accessible for a fragile adult. Hazardous throw rugs can be removed.  An older or infirm person may benefit from a hand-held shower head, grab bars for the bathtub or better lighting.

Falls are a serious problem for our most vulnerable adults. Becoming educated on how to prevent them is the first step in protecting our seniors.  Click here for good tips on how to prevent falls.

2015-2016 Mini Grants

If you are interested in applying for a CUFHC Mini Grant for 2015-2016, please go to our "In The News" page to downlaod the application.

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Relay for Life

The American Cancer Society had a very successful Relay for Life event on Friday, April 27.   CUFHC churches were represented at the event and Carolyn Swanson, our CUFHC coordinator,  was on the planning committee.  Lots of fun, fundraising, and recognition of survivors and those who have lost their battle took place all night and into Saturday morning.  This was all for a wonderful cause:  to eradicate this terrible disease that has taken and affected the lives of so many of our loved ones.  Bless all of you who participated!
(Check out more photos in the Photo Gallery)

In The News

Don't forget to check out In The News to find out the upcoming events and latest CUFHC news! 

Upcoming Events

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Look What's New!

HIV/AIDS is a concern to the world and to the African American community. Check out our new HIV/AIDS page to see how you can help spread awareness about this disease that has affected so many lives.

Plan ahead! Check out the link on our Links Page to National Health Observances so you'll know well in advance what each month recognizes for health awareness. 

Check out In The News and Photo Gallery to see the latest events!

First Lady Micehelle Obama has issued a health challenge to all faith based communities! Learn more In the News.

How is your Zone doing?  Send some info in and we'll put it
In the Zone! 

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