Do you find shopping at a Farmer's Market too intimidating? Need help getting started?
Have no fear!
UC CalFresh and Pete, the MyPlate Superhero, will help you get started!
Why shop at a Farmer's Market?
Farmer's Markets support our farmers and our local economy while increasing our access to fresh, nutritious, and locally grown fruits and vegetables!
How can I stretch my food-buying dollars when shopping at a local Farmer's Market?
~~ Market Match ~~
Market Match is California's healthy food incentive program that will match your CalFresh dollars up to $10 when you purchase fruits and vegetables! That means your $10 CalFresh EBT budget, for fruits and vegetables, can double up to $20. That's more money for delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables!
Look for the Market Match tent at select Farmer's Markets to get started!
Want to buy non-fruit and non-vegetable products using your CalFresh EBT card? No problem! Select Farmer's Markets will also allow you to use your CalFresh EBT and WIC benefits to buy food. Click here to find a Market near you and find out what Market Match incentives they offer!
Pete, the MyPlate Superhero, is happy to hear that Californians can make healthy choices at Farmer's Markets near them. Let's follow Pete as he navigates his first Farmer's Market: The Market on Kern.
Pete can't help but be excited. Just look as he takes flight!
Pete's first stop is the Market Match tent. He wants to make the most out of his food dollars. Shopping smart is how Pete likes to roll.
It looks like kale has caught Pete's attention. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamin A and C, and a good source of calcium and dietary fiber.
Is there anything better than ripe fruits? Pete suggests having a sweet and juicy fruit as a snack or dessert! Yum!
Pete knows tomatoes can be confusing: are they a fruit or a vegetable? Pete notes that they are a vegetable on MyPlate, and so good for you! Try adding this delicious vegetable in your everyday meals and let us know how it goes. Pete would love to hear all about it!
Pete loves to share his knowledge about MyPlate. Pete reminds Nutrition Coordinator, Evelyn Morales, about the importance of making fruits and vegetables half your plate!
Come visit the Market on Kern, open every Wednesday, 9am to 2pm, now through October.
Summer is a great time to explore your local Farmer's Market. Who knows, you may run into Pete!
Visit the Ecology Center for a Farmer's Market near you.
-Pete, the MyPlate Superhero
- Author: Evelyn Morales
- Editor: Emily Harris
What does it mean to be healthy?
This was the question asked of 120 incoming high school freshmen attending the Summer Bridge Program* for Bullard High in Fresno, California.
In the first of the two sessions, students received EatFit workbooks and learned about setting goals and how to take steps to achieve their goals. Students were able to practice goal setting and develop major and minor fitness goals. In the second session, students were split up into groups and visited multiple stations, each pertaining to different nutrition topics. Stations exposed students to label reading with grains, protein, and sugar-based drinks.
At the final station, we sat down with students and asked them to respond to the following questions:
Is being healthy important to you?
Out of the 90 responses we received, 80 students (89%) responded, "Yes," it was important for them and 10 students (11%) responded, "No," it was not important to them.
We also asked: What does it mean to be healthy?
Being Healthy: 41%
"Being healthy means eating the right foods and getting good exercise."
This was the most common response from the students. Answers from this category consisted of students making better food choices, eating less junk food, being active, living a long, happy life and having a well-balanced life. Students also mentioned aspirations to travel and meet career goals as motivation to be healthy.
Playing Sports: 18%
"To play sports such as soccer, football, track, and cross country."
This group was made up of students who said being healthy meant doing well in sports and being physically fit. Most mentioned sports they currently play or sports teams they hope to be a part of in high school.
It's not important to be healthy: 11%
"Being healthy at an old age is important, but at a young age not necessarily."
Most of the students in this group answered by generally saying they didn't care about being healthy or that they felt it wasn't important to worry about being healthy right now. In one response, a student mentioned that it was important to take care of your body, but not until old age.
"[So] you don't end up in the hospital sooner."
These students made a connection between being healthy and getting sick or developing a disease. Students talked about wanting to live a healthy life and not wanting to end up in the hospital. The most common diseases mentioned by students included high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
"Being healthy is having a good body."
Ten percent of students mentioned weight status and fat in relation to being healthy. Most responses included students making a weight loss goal or wanting to lose weight.
"If I am healthy, I get to live longer and spend more time with my family"
Students also mentioned their family and their families' health as the definition of being healthy. Some students mentioned helping their family make healthy choices while others talked about not wanting their family to get sick.
What does this information tell us as nutrition educators?
In this small sample, most incoming freshmen were able to say,"yes, being healthy is important," along with a reason why it was important to them. So what does that information mean to us as nutrition educator's? It actually leads to another question: what can we do to help high school students reach their goals for healthy living? Perhaps this is the first of many conversations we need to have with students in this age group. This is also good information for Fresno Unified School District and the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program as we embark on our second year of implementing the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement district wide. In the fall we will be diving into high school campuses and cafeterias. How can we provide the best information and resources to help students reach their goals to live healthy lives? Personally speaking, I'm excited to head into the uncharted waters of the high school campuses for the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement. This can be an opportunity where our UC CalFresh team can impact students and the way they think about health.
What do you think it means to be healthy? Let us know in the comment section below.
*The Summer Bridge program provides resources for students who could benefit from additional support in the transition from middle school to high school. The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program worked with Bullard High counselors to teach lessons from the EatFit curriculum to students attending the summer session.
- Author: Tacu Vang
- Editor: Emily Harris
UC CalFresh was invited to join Burroughs Elementary's Fun Day Event on June 8th, 2016. Students were rewarded with a fun day full of activities including face painting, slip and slides, bowling, water activities, and hair color spray. This event celebrated the students' hard work and success throughout the school year. Students used tickets that they earned during the year from their teachers for this fun day event to get different prizes and snacks as they participated in the various activities that were out there.
UC CalFresh showed up at the Fun Day event with a Re-Think Your Drink booth where we presented a quick lesson on sugary drinks and how much sugar is in soda, sports drink, and juices. Students couldn't believe the amount of sugar they saw in those drinks and were committed to making water their main drink, especially after trying two types of infused water: strawberry with mint and cucumber with lemon. As Potter the Otter would say, "Drink water for thirst and you should know, water is healthy, it helps you grow!"
Evelyn and Maira getting ready for the students as they make their way to the Fun Day Event.
Cucumber and lemon infused water.
Strawberry and mint infused water.
One of the water activities at the event.
Students wait in line to get their faces painted and their hair sprayed with color.
It was an amazing day of fun as students and teachers had a chance to enjoy the infused water for the first time from UC CalFresh. We hope to come back and enjoy this amazing event at Burroughs Elementary next year. Have a Fun Day!
- Author: Consuelo Cid
How do we cultivate healthy habits?
The UC CalFresh Adult Nutrition Education Program provides its program participants with no-cost, research-based information on food and nutrition, physical activity, food safety, and resource management. We strive to empower our participants with practical skills and knowledge that enables them to engage in physical activity and make informed food choices.
Participants at Rescue the Children completed a Plan, Shop, Save & Cook 5-week nutrition education series. They learned about the importance and value of planning for family meals, shopping for nutrient dense foods, how to safely prepare family meals, and how to stretch food dollars when money is tight.
Our participants left excited and empowered to make healthy changes for themselves, and their families! Goal setting is an important component and emphasis in our classes. Goal setting makes healthier behavior changes possible and attainable for our participants. Below are some goals you may wish to tackle and/or incorporate into your everyday routine:
- Use a grocery list when grocery shopping.
- Involve your children when planning and preparing meals.
- Read the nutrition facts label on snacks and cereals and choose foods with the least amount of sugar.
- Buy items in bulk to save money.
Our Rescue the Children participants were an enthusiastic group of women who were willing to learn from their peers by sharing successes and/or barriers they have experienced when feeding their children.
We injected hands-on learning into our physical activity breaks. We encouraged participants to be the educator and teach their peers a physical activity that they can employ at home. We recommend that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. To meet this recommendation, our participants used the Champions for Change, "Playing for Healthy Choices" cards to inspire their peers to move more. They carefully read through their physical activity cards and demoed their specific physical activity. They also offered modifications to the exercise cards to encourage everyone to participate at a level that best suited them. What a fun way to incorporate physical activity!
We concluded our last nutrition lesson with our graduation ceremony and a cooking demonstration. The Spaghetti with Turkey Meat Sauce was a hit amongst our participants. They were surprised with how simple swaps, like choosing whole grain pasta and leaner meats, could make for a tasty and nutritious meal. Our recipe and how to prepare it, in 4 simple steps, is found below. Let us know if you try it out with your families. Tweet us a picture, post it on Facebook, or tag us on Instagram.
Spaghetti with Turkey Meat Sauce
Non stick cooking spray
¾ pound of lean ground turkey
2 (14 1/2 –ounce) can of diced tomatoes, juice reserved
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup of onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of crushed, dried oregano
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 pound of spaghetti noodles
- Author: Emily Harris
June is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month! What better way to celebrate than to try recipes that incorporate produce that is in season this summer, including beets, honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, okra, peaches and summer squash.
Ingredients4 potatoes (washed and cut in half)3 cups beets, cooked (peeled and diced)1 cup peas, green, fresh or frozen3 eggs, hard boiled1 apple1 teaspoon lemon juice2 tablespoons olive oil3 tablespoons vinegar1 tablespoon sugar
1. Boil the potatoes in 2 cups of water in a deep kettle. Cover and cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
2. When thoroughly cool, dice potatoes and place in a big bowl.
3. Add diced beets and mix with the potatoes.
4. Set aside 1/4 cup of peas for garnishing and add the rest to the bowl.
5. Save 1 egg to use as a garnish. Chop the rest and add to the bowl.
6. Peel the skin off the apple and remove the core. Cut the apple into small pieces, place in a small bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Add apple to the salad.
7. Add the vinegar, olive oil and sugar.
8. Mix thoroughly. Chill and serve.
Ingredients2 cups honeydew, cantaloupe or watermelon (seeded and chopped fresh, use one kind or a combination)1 cup cucumber (peeled, seeded and chopped)1/4 cup onion, red or white (chopped)2 tablespoons cilantro or mint (optional) (fresh, chopped)1 jalapeño (seeded and finely chopped, or hot sauce to taste)1/4 cup lime juice or lemon juice1 tablespoon sugar, white or brown
1. In a medium size bowl, stir together all ingredients.
2. Taste and season with more lemon or lime juice, sugar if needed.
3. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve with grilled or broiled fish or chicken.
Caution: When handling hot peppers, the oils can cause burning and skin irritation. You can wear clean kitchen gloves or wash hands thoroughly after preparing. KEEP HANDS AWAY FROM EYES.
Ingredients2 cups okra (fresh, sliced)3/4 teaspoon vegetable oil1/8 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon peppercooking spray (nonstick, as needed)
1. Wash hands with warm water and soap.
2. In a bowl, mix sliced okra, oil, salt and pepper.
3. Coat a large fry pan with cooking spray.
4. Heat over medium heat, and add okra mixture, turning often with a wooden spoon or spatula.
5. Cook until okra is browned, about 10 minutes.
6. Serve with hot sauce or favorite relish.
Rise and Shine Cobbler
1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, mix peaches, pears, prunes, and vanilla extract.
2. Rub an orange against a grater to remove 1 teaspoon of the orange peel. Then, cut the orange in half and squeeze 1/4 cup orange juice. Add orange peel and juice to fruit mixture. Stir.
3. Top with granola.
4. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes.
5. Spoon into 4 bowls and serve warm.
Ingredients2 summer squash3 cups cooked brown rice1 cup diced tomatoes1 cup squash pulp (from summer squash listed above)1 cup white beans, drained and rinsed1 tablespoon fresh basil4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1. Wash and cut squash in half, lengthwise. Remove the large seeds.
2. Steam the squash, skin side down, in a small amount of water in a fry pan or skillet until slightly tender (but not mushy).
3. Scoop out a good amount of pulp (1 cup), place in a bowl and mix with stuffing (brown rice through Parmesan cheese).
4. Place the squash shells in a baking dish. Stuff the squash with the stuffing mixture.
5. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes.
Did you try one of these recipes? Let us know in the comments below!/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/h2>/span>/h2>/h2>