VA MOVE! program highlights healthy lifestyles

By Beth Peralta

Sloppy Joe sandwiches. Egg skillet for breakfast.These items are not usually what we think are "healthy foods." However, for veterans in the MOVE! Weight Management Program at VA Illiana Health Care System (VAIHCS), healthier versions of the above are the star attractions in several upcoming cooking classes.

MOVE! Weight Management Program for veterans has been offered since 2006 at VAIHCS. While we are assisting veterans in the program with reducing their weight and slimming, the program has been growing and expanding over the years.

MOVE! is a national VA program designed to help veterans lose weight, keep it off, and improve their health. At VAIHCS, we have registered dietitians to assist veterans with improving their eating habits, kinesiotherapists to help with exercise and psychologists to assist in behavior change. Currently, veterans are able to follow up with the MOVE! program in a variety of methods, depending on what works the best for their lifestyle: individual clinic visits, group appointments, home telehealth, phone calls or online secure messaging. Best results tend to come from veterans who are motivated and ready to make changes, and are willing to work with our staff for a minimum of six months.

Last year, VAIHCS started offering healthy cooking classes to veterans as a new feature to MOVE!. Staff members who teach the classes are trained in food safety and sanitation and have a love for healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.

Veterans that have attended past sessions have enjoyed the recipes, food preparation education and weight-loss tips sprinkled throughout the classes. Our next round of classes are underway and focus on healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes. All recipes are easy to prepare, even for an inexperienced cook! For more information about the MOVE! program, please contact Beth Peralta, MOVE! program coordinator, at 217-554-5804.

Beth Peralta, MS, RD, LDN, is the MOVE! Weight Management Program coordinator at the VA Illiana Health Care System in Danville.

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