Fresno and Madera Counties' UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program has a long standing partnership with the Fresno State Dietetic Internship Program. This blog post is part of our Intern Reflections Series.
The University of California CalFresh Program is exactly what this community, and every community, needs. The number of hours dedicated to teaching both children and adults in Fresno and Madera Counties about nutrition is impressive, but what really shocked me was stepping into the supply room. Gazing at all of the laminated posters, physical activity props, packaged and organized education games, and Nutrition Corner poster boards was overwhelming and exciting. I am someone who deeply appreciates organization and lamination, so seeing all the education materials so meticulously filed and ready for use was a beautiful sight.
This rotation allowed me the opportunity to get involved in teaching both children and adults, however, my true talents lie behind the scenes, working on special projects. I was given the opportunity to complete a two-hour training for the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, which gave me so many inexpensive ideas about how to alter a lunchroom in order to highlight nutrient dense food choices. I also gathered important facts about calcium and calcium-containing foods for the next newsletter UC CalFresh will put out.
Another extra project I received required me to do some undercover research in the grocery store. While observing an adult class, a project the participants had to complete was using two different lists of foods from a grocery store: one with nutrient dense foods and one with mostly processed foods. The assignment was to come up with meals for a day that included the foods, and also to note that the healthier list was actually less expensive, busting the myth that eating healthy costs more. The lists that were being used were a tad out dated, so my preceptor gave me the task of updating them to see if the healthier list was still less expensive; it was.
I also worked on a Nutrition Corner that will be placed in schools to reinforce nutrition and physical activity education. I chose to focus my Nutrition Corner board on physical activity, and what exercises can be done to make certain muscles stronger. The age-audience for this board is 4th-6th graders and their parents. I incorporated MyPlate by highlighting how nutrients from each food group aid physical activity.
I admire the educators here at UC CalFresh. They are the people on the front line, helping our next generation to be healthier than the last, and I appreciate every single minute they put into their jobs.