Our Story

How a spurned slice of cake sparked a new kind of co-op.

 

 

Two Women,
One Very
Bright Idea

 

Lisa Helfman & Dr. Shreela Sharma
Founders of Brighter Bites

 

For several years, Lisa Helfman and her family took part in a weekly fruit and vegetable co-op, and she watched her children’s eating habits dramatically transform. So much so that her little boy turned down a piece of cake at a birthday party, craving instead the blueberries he’d grown fond of eating at home.

 

Like most moms, Lisa realized this was a fairly significant decision for a six-year-old. She wondered what kind of influence regular access to fresh produce might have on all children, especially if it were free to families.

She was inspired to replicate this type of positive change in underserved communities identified as “food deserts,” or areas where access to grocery stores stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables is sorely limited. Because nutrition education in these communities is often equally lacking, Lisa’s vision was to bring a produce co-op to schools in these neighborhoods that included an educational component.

 

 

To start, she created a collaborative partnership with Dr. Shreela Sharma, an expert in nutrition and a professor of epidemiology at UTHealth School of Public Health, and they launched the program now known as Brighter Bites.

Since its inception in 2012, Brighter Bites has delivered more than 40,000,000 pounds of fresh produce and millions of nutrition education materials to more than 475,000 individuals (including teachers) in multiple cities across the country.

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) recently named Brighter Bites the winner of the 2018 PHA Impact Award. In 2016, Brighter Bites won the Texas Health Champion Award.

We are thrilled to share that we’ve been selected as a #VoicesDMV Community Action Awards winner for our Washington, D.C. program! Thank you @communityfndn for helping us spark change and turn our ideas into action to enhance our community!
#AdvocacyToAction #CommunityAction
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🍓Strawberries are red,⁠
Blueberries are blue.⁠
Mangoes are sweet🥭,⁠
and we think you are too!⁠
♥️ -The Brighter Bites crew!⁠

#HappyValentinesDay⁠
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Brighter Bites is wishing our community a Happy Lunar New Year!
#LunarNewYear
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This #WellnessWednesday we are celebrating the avocado!⁠
Avocados are in peak season. 😋🥑⁠
What does that mean❓ When fruits and vegetables are in season it means that they are the most flavorful and affordable.⁠

✨It can be tricky to choose the right avocado, but here are a few of our tips! ⁠

🥑 Avocados are available year round like most fruits and vegetables these days, but January through March is the best time of year for the best flavor.⁠
🥑Look for avocados that are green and firm if you won’t be using them for a few days or avocados that are⁠
black and evenly yield to gentle touch for immediate use. ⁠
🥑To ripen avocados, you may leave them out at room temperature until they soften. ⁠
🥑Look for avocados without bruises, blemishes, soft spots, or very mushy flesh.⁠

Fun fact: Avocado is a fruit. 🥑😎⁠

#BrighterBites #EatinSeason #FreshProduce #Fruit #NutritionEducation #Nonprofit #HealthyTips #HealthyFact #Avocado ⁠
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It's National Pizza Day 🍕🎉, so we are sharing our Zucchini Pizza recipe and a healthy tip for you:

Did you know that you can make pizza without a flour crust? That's right! These yummy zucchini pizzas uses thin slices of zucchini as the crust! This recipe is flavorful, easy to make, full of nutrition, and budget-friendly. 🥫🧅It is sure to fit in with your health goals this year. 💪⁠
Check out the recipe below, and let us know what you think!⁠

INGREDIENTS:⁠
3 medium zucchini⁠
Pinch of salt and pepper⁠
1 small jar low sodium pizza or marinara sauce⁠
¼ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese⁠
your favorite vegetable toppings (onion, bell pepper, olives, or mushrooms)⁠

DIRECTIONS⁠
Turn on oven broiler, or preheat to 425°F. Wash zucchini and cut into slices about ¼ inches thick. Lightly sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Spread a small amount of sauce on each zucchini slice, then top with cheese and your choice of veggies. Broil on high for 3-5 minutes, or bake until cheese is melted. Serve immediately!⁠

#BrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #RecipeOfTheDay #TuesdayTips #NationalPizzaDay #NutritionEducation #EatHealthy #BBHouston #BBAustin #BBDallas #BBNYC #BBWashingtonDC #BBSWFL
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Looking for delicious and nutritious appetizers for this Super Bowl weekend at home?? 🏈⁠
Here are a few of our favorite dips perfect for the occasion-
• Better Than Ranch Dip⁠
• Black Bean Dip ⁠
• Corn Guacamole⁠
• Poblano Salsa
😋🥕🥑🌮⁠

Pair these dips with sliced veggies, tortillas chips, or as a toppings on tacos. ⁠

Visit our website for the full recipes. ➡️https://brighterbites.org/recipe/⁠

What are you snacking on this Super Bowl Sunday? Comment below with the healthy recipes! You’ll be making at home!

#BrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #HealthyCooking #HealthyEating #RecipeOfTheDay #SuperBowlSnacks⁠
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Think we are crazy for putting clothes on vegetables? We don’t CARROT all! 🥕😉
We love putting smiles on our families’ faces, and this guy sure did this week at Beacon Heights Elementary in DC! 🤩

@brighterbitesdc
#brighterbites #brighterbitesdc #freshproduce #fruits #vegetables
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Can you guess what is special about today's "date"⁉️⁠
It is #NationalMedjoolDateDay! 🌴 To help celebrate National Medjool Date Day we would like to share a quick tip about dates:⁠
Did you know that the white spots that occur on dates are not mold, but the date’s natural sugar moving to the surface.😋 ⁠

For more tips on dates and other delicious fruits and vegetables visit our website at www.brighterbites.org/tips-tools 🤩⁠

@ndmedjooldates ⁠
#BrighterBites #NationalMedjoolDateDay #FreshProduce #NutritionEducation #Nonprofit #HealthyFact
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Southwest Florida Friends!
Save the Date! You’re invited to join the Naples Children & Education Foundation on Saturday, January 30th at 7:00PM on WINK-TV. The one-hour televised event will highlight organizations it has funded and the systems of care it has built to support children like ours in Collier County. Please join us and help improve the life of a child—you won’t even have to get off the couch to do it.
Good news for our friends outside of Florida- The event will also be livestreamed online for all to see! Please visit https://www.ncefkids.com/ to tune in live on Saturday at 7:00PM EST.

@ncef_nwwf @brighterbites_swfl
#‎ItsAllForTheKids #NCEFNaples #NWWF21 #NCEFkids #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesSWFL #partnership #nonprofit #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation
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Today we honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 
#MLKDay #MartinLutherKingDay
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That's a wrap for our first full week of spring programming in our cities!
This week, our families at Robinson Elementary in Houston, TX received these beautiful boxes full of grapes, carrots, oranges, potatoes, limes, and bananas. What a great variety of produce! So many options to cook up in the kitchen. What would you make with this box of produce?
🍇🥔🥕🍌🍊

#BrighterBites #FreshProduce #FruitsAndVegetables #fruits #vegetables #nonprofit #nutritioneducation
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We are kicking off the new year with a classic! 🎉 In honor of National Spaghetti Day 🍝, we are sharing our Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe. This recipe is flavorful, easy to make, full of nutrition, and budget-friendly. 🥫🧅🧄🥕It is sure to fit in with all of your new goals this year. 💪
Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!

INGREDIENTS
•2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
•1 large onion, finely chopped
•1 large carrot, finely chopped
•1 stalk celery, finely chopped
•4 cloves garlic, minced, or ½ tsp garlic powder
•1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
•1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes, no salt added
•½ tsp salt

DIRECTIONS
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is beginning to brown (5-8 minutes). Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning; cook for about 30 seconds. Add canned tomatoes and cook until thickened (about 4-6 minutes). Stir in salt. Serve over whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash!

NUTRITION FACTS FOR ONE SERVING (approx. ½ cup; makes 10 servings): 45 calories; 9 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fat; 2 grams protein; 2 grams dietary fiber
Average cost for one recipe: $1.76

#brighterbites #freshproduce #fruits #vegetables #healthyeating #healthycooking #recipeoftheday #nationalspaghettiday
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