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.

Did someone say SALSA? 💃

Salsas are great recipes to add more fruits and veggies into your diet. Here are some festive and delicious salsa recipes to add to your recipe rotation:
🥭 Mango Tango Salsa
🌽 Black Bean & Corn Salsa
🧄 Poblano Salsa
🍉 Watermelon Salsa

➡️ For the full recipes check out our website https://brighterbites.org/recipes

#NationalSalsaMonth #WellnessWednesday #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Smoothies #HealthyCooking #HealthyEating #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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🍊 Ever wondered why orange juice is the most popular fruit juice in America?

We think it's because of it's bright color, sweet taste, and it's health benefits! In honor of National Orange Juice Day, we are sharing a few facts about oranges:

🍊Oranges are sweet citrus fruits.
🍊These fruits have long growing seasons from autumn to spring.
🍊They come in many sizes and different shades of orange.
🍊These citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C.

#NationalOrangeJuiceDay #OrangeJuice #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Smoothies #HealthyCooking #HealthyEating #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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❤️🍈🍎🥦
Cutest way to say "Thank you!" to our supporters, partners, volunteers, and friends? The artwork of our little Brighter Biters, of course!

🎨 Credit: Ms. Delacruz's 2nd grade class at Kruse Elementary in Houston

#BrighterBites #BrighterBitesBrighterHomes #FreshProduce #EatHealthy #FoodIsMedicine #Fruits #Veggies #Vegetables #JoyOfFresh #HaveAPlant #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #WeAreBrighterBites
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This month, Brighter Bites is recognizing the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. At Brighter Bites, we love celebrating cultures through food! Tropical fruits like passion fruit, kumquats, dragon fruit, lychee, and pineapple and vegetables like bok choy, taro root, daikon radish, and Napa cabbage are native to Asian countries and are a delicious way to celebrate this rich culture.

#asianamericanpacificislanderheritagemonth #aapiheritagemonth
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Looking for a RAISIN to smile? 😃🍇

Our Triple Fruit Coleslaw will surely put a smile on your face! This is a kid favorite!!! 🎉

Have your kids involved in preparing this yummy recipe- they can measure out and mix together all of the ingredients.

For this delicious recipe go to our website ➡️ https://brighterbites.org/recipe/triple-fruit-coleslaw/

#NationalRaisinDay #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #VegetarianRecipe #BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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This #ThankfulThursday, we’d like to thank our partner Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas for choosing Brighter Bites for a #HealthyKidsHealthyFamilies grant! Together, we have been able to accomplish some really great work in our Texas communities!💙

We've provided safe distributions to families in Texas and sent home prepacked boxes of produce containing more than 1,000,000 pounds of 85 different varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables during this quarter alone!

Additionally, Brighter Bites held 469 produce distributions attended by 14,733 unique families. While in our Brighter Bites schools, the teachers have taught 1,446 CATCH lessons to 46,222 students!
Thank you Blue Cross Blue Shield for helping keep our Brighter Bites families healthy!

#BrighterBites #BlueCrossBlueShieldOfTexas #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation #nonprofit #partnership
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Cheers to brightening your day with a fresh and o so colorful smoothie! 🌞🍎

Smoothies are great recipes that your kids can help with in the kitchen. Have your kids wash the fresh produce, pour in the liquid, and push the blender button!

What better way to brighten up your day than with our Brighter Bites Smoothie? Here's the scoop➡️
🥕INGREDIENTS:
1 red beet, peeled and shredded
1 small apple, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
Handful of fresh or frozen berries, no sugar added
Handful of fresh kale, spinach, or other leafy greens
1 cup cold water

🍓DIRECTIONS:
Wash all fresh produce. Remove kale leaves from stem. Combine all ingredients in blender, and puree until smooth.

#WellnessWednesday #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Smoothies #HealthyCooking #HealthyEating #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesInvolved
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Did you know?

🍈Each week, Brighter Bites provides families with 50-60 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with budget-friendly recipes and tip sheets to get kids cooking in the kitchen.

🍉While it costs a family $0 to participate in Brighter Bites, it also saves them approximately $35 each week on groceries.

👍According to research, by the end of just one year of Brighter Bites families will report:
• Healthier eating and snacking habits
• A significant, long-term increase in the amount of fresh produce consumed
• A significant decrease in the amount of added sugars consumed
• More scratch cooking and family meals
• Smarter grocery purchases

For just $15, you can ensure a family of four has enough fruits and vegetables for an entire month. Give $100 and sponsor a Brighter Bites family for six months, or $200 for a full year!

Head over to our website to help donate to our Brighter Bite communities ➡️ https://www.brighterbites.org/donate/

#HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #BrighterBitesInvolved #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #GetInvolved
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Tomorrow is National Zucchini Bread Day, and we've got the perfect recipe to celebrate! 🍞
Have you tried our Sweet Potato and Zucchini Muffins yet?
🧑‍🍳 This is a great recipe to get your kids in the kitchen this weekend! Have your children wash the fresh produce, measure ingredient, shred produce and spoon the batter into the molds. 👩‍🍳

See the full recipe on our website and GET BAKING! ➡️ https://brighterbites.org/recipe/sweet-potato-zucchini-muffins/

#NationalZucchiniBreadDay #ZucchiniMuffins #WeAreBrighterBites #Fruit #Veggies #EatHealthy #NutritionEducation #FreshProduce #NonProfit #FunFoodExperience #BrighterBitesInvolved #BrighterBitesBrighterHomes
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We think our interns are kind of a FIG deal! 🌟

Intern with us!
🍎Brighter Bites offers unpaid internships to students and non-students interested in public health, nutrition, nonprofit work, and more! We invite you to join our program staff in the field or work behind the scenes building our brand and developing relationships. Our interns are exposed to all components of Brighter Bites to gain a well-rounded understanding of how a public health community nutrition nonprofit operates.

👉Brighter Bites is currently looking for a summer social media intern! 📱💻📸

Interested in applying for an internship opportunity? Check out our website for more information!
https://www.brighterbites.org/intern-with-us/

#HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #BrighterBitesInvolved #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesIntern #BBHouston #BBDallas #BBAustin #NutritionStudent
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Happy National Garlic Day! 🧄

Did you know that garlic contains a compound called allium that has health benefits such for the cardiovascular, immune, inflammatory, digestive, and detoxification systems in the body? So many reasons to enjoy this veggie!

Our Poblano Salsa is one of our favorite recipes featuring garlic! 😃 See the recipe on our website along with more recipes featuring garlic ➡️
https://brighterbites.org/recipe/poblano-salsa/

#NationalGarlicDay #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #VegetarianRecipe #BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
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Happy Day of the Mushroom! 🍄

Today we share our delicious Turkey Mushroom Burgers, perfect to try this weekend! 🍄🍔Adding mushrooms to the ground turkey adds a ton of flavor and nutrition....and the best part is that your kids will never know you snuck in a veggie! Make dinner fun and let each family member pick a topping! Our favorite toppings are tomatoes, shredded lettuce, grilled onions, and avocado!

Find this recipe along with other delicious recipes on our website ➡️https://brighterbites.org/recipe/turkey-mushroom-burgers/

#DayOfTheMushroom #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #BrighterBitesInvolved
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🍌Going BANANAS for #NationalBananaDay!🍌

We've got a PEELING that you'll like our Banana Ice Cream recipe! 😋
Get the whole family involved and have everyone pick their toppings! Here is the recipe➡️

INGREDIENTS:
10 very ripe bananas
½ cup low-fat milk
¼ cup honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:
Peel bananas and freeze overnight in a freezer bag. Remove the bananas from the freezer and blend in blender or food processor until smooth. Slowly add the remaining ingredients and blend until the bananas have a “frozen yogurt” consistency. (If you have an ice cream maker, pour mixture into maker and churn until there is an “ice cream” texture.) Serve immediately or store in the freezer for up to one week.

#NationalBananaDay #BananaIcecream #Fruit #EatHealthy #HealthyDessert
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Eat well & keep moving! 🥗🚴‍♀️
While eating lots of fruits and vegetables is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, being physically active is important too!👍
@who recommends that all healthy adults do 30 minutes/day of physical activity, and children should be physically active for 1 hour/day.

Here are some fun ideas to move around:
👟Have a friendly competition of jumping rope.
💃Have a dance party to your favorite music. 🕺
🚶‍♂️Play backyard games like tag or frisbee. 🚶‍♀️

#WellnessWednesday #HealthyAtHome #BeActive #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy #CATCH
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