'Fun' birthday party in Stirling focused on health, wellness

Source: New Jersey Hills.com
LONG HILL TWP. – ShopRite of Stirling, 1153 Valley Road, hosted a first-ever Health and Wellness Festival on Saturday, Oct. 22 to celebrate the first anniversary of its Village Wellness Garden.
Registered Dietitian Jessica Guarnieri, who organized the festival and is the in-store dietitian, said the garden has been a welcome addition. “Most birthday parties are not health focused so we wanted to have a fun party, with a healthy spin. I thought a health and wellness festival was a great way to promote this healthy space within the store and include local businesses, fitness studios and food companies as part of the celebration.
“Mother Nature had other plans with high winds and rain. We moved the event indoors to the Village Wellness Garden and got great attendance! I think moving the event indoors brought recognition to the Village Wellness Garden and showcased a lot of the great items our team of registered dietitians selected as ‘better-for-you’ items. Although everyone was close together, it gave an intimate feel to the event that I believe guests enjoyed.”
The festival, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featured a spin wheel packed with prizes and wellness tips, a distribution of recipes, several yoga and karate demonstrations as well as brief classes, and an “Around the World” sheet that visitors could complete by visiting each station to receive a goody bag filled with healthy items.
Organizers raised awareness about the purpose of the Village Wellness Garden space by letting guests enjoy fitness classes, make their own body scrubs, spin a prize wheel, and taste many food samples.
Guarnieri wants to share her love of nutrition with all residents interested in a healthier lifestyle.
“I believe nutrition has a huge impact on the health of the community,” said Guarnieri. “I love to show people how to live a healthy lifestyle by making small, manageable changes. I believe that health and wellness is an emerging area of interest so I love to be in a position at ShopRite to partner with local businesses and organizations and educate the community of Long Hill Township on how make this a realistic option.
“Due to the success of the event, I plan to do a smaller-scale health and wellness festival quarterly to promote the Village Wellness Garden and tie in local health and wellness businesses and health-focused food vendors.”

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