Women’s Heart Health Month / Keeping Your Heart Healthy

Chef N’gai

Coming to a Neighborhood Near You!

By Sarah Fedele

     Chef N’gai Dickerson is a fan favorite in Guilford County!From the City of Greensboro Parks & Recreation to the Guilford County Health Department to local farmer’s markets, the American Heart Association’s Hampton Family Mobile Kitchen with Chef N’gai has taught over 10,000 families in Guilford County how to cook and eat healthier this year. Generously funded by The Blairton Hampton Family and with the support of the Guilford County Health Department and Mount Zion Baptist Church of Greensboro, this initiative continues to provide healthy cooking and eating classes for multicultural residents living in under served communities within Greater Guilford County. Now he is even beginning to expand into Forsyth, with the hopes of one day covering all of the Triad.

“I have heard so many stories. One family came to the classes all together and were excited try new foods and to learn how to cook healthier together. Another woman took the classes to learn how to cook healthier for her father who was a heart attack survivor. She was also ecstatic when she started noticing a difference of how eating healthy also made her feel better,” shared Chef N’gai. “Being able to infuse my passion around food education and my desire to make a positive change in the lives of other people in my community, I am honestly living my dream.”

     Chef N’gai’s passion for healthier neighborhoods is contagious to all who witness a cooking demo or participate in one of his classes. The free classes bring individuals and smaller groups together, focusing on moms, families, seniors, people living with Diabetes, and those at risk for Diabetes, heart disease or stroke. He leads the healthy cooking classes, providing “hands on” instruction and education. Participants try their prepared meals in class and then are able to bring some home for their families. Class attendees also receive recipe cards with nutritional information.

“Unfortunately, many Greater Guilford County residents lack the knowledge, incentive and access to consistently make healthy food choices,” shares Merle Green, Public Health Director for Guilford County. “The Hampton Family Mobile Kitchen reaches people where they live, work, play and pray, teaching them valuable cooking skills and healthy eating habits so they can create healthier lives for themselves and their families.”

     We currently have 26 food deserts in Guilford County. As a metropolitan area, Greensboro and High Point are one of the worst in the nation for food insecurity.

For more information on upcoming Hampton Family Mobile Kitchen classes in Guilford County or to request a class at your organization or location, please contact N’gai Dickerson at 336-905-3348 or ngai.dickerson@heart.org. For heart-healthy recipes, visit www.heart.org/recipes. For N’gai’s latest demos, local AHA programs and events, follow @TriadAHA on Facebook and Instagram.


     Eating healthy doesn’t have to be more expensive. The reality is, many of those ready-made, super-fast, prepackaged foods actually cost MORE than homemade foods. And they tend to have more calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugars.

Planning ahead is your key to success. Preparing menus and grocery lists ahead of time can keep you from making impulse food choices, which often aren’t healthy. With a little planning, you can make the healthy choice the easy choice.

  1. Plan out one or two weeks of healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take a few minutes over the weekend to go through your favorite healthy recipes and map out your meal plan and update your grocery list as you go.
  2. If your work week is crazy, cook over the weekend and store pre-portioned meals in the fridge or freezer. Just thaw and reheat for hassle-free lunches and dinners.
  3. Cut up fruits and vegetables and keep them handy in the fridge, or pre-pack individual servings for when you’re on the go.

Shop smart to save big.

  1. Keep an eye out for specials. Stock up on frozen and canned produce when it’s on sale.
  2. Use coupons and join store rewards programs.
  3. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season.
  4. Skip the ready-made foods and individually-packaged snacks. The convenience may be tempting but it’s usually healthier and cheaper to prepare these same foods at home.
  5. Buy local at a farmer’s market. You’ll know where your food is coming from and help your local economy.

For heart-healthy recipes and tips to help your family eat healthy, visit www.heart.org.


February 1: National Wear Red Day

February 1: Winston-Salem Goes Red Breakfast at Novant Health

February 9: Guilford Heart Ball at Cadillac Service Garage (Ticketed Event)

February 16: Iredell County Heart Ball (Ticketed Event)

February 11-15: Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

February 17: Red Dress Tea at Novant Health

February 22: Minority Business Leaders Luncheon, Guilford

February 22: Hispanic League Beating Hearts Zumbathon

April 12: Winston Salem Heart Ball at the Millennium Center (Ticketed Event)

April 1: Guilford Go Red For Women Luncheon (Ticketed Event)

May 18: Guilford Heart & Stroke Walk – UNCG Campus

For information on upcoming events or volunteer opportunities, call 336.542.4836 or email Anne.Donovan@Heart.org.