- Author: Emily Harris
- Contributor: Evelyn Morales
Developed out of Cornell University, the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM) seeks, “to equip school lunchrooms with evidence-based tools that improve child eating behaviors and thus improve the health of children.” This year Fresno Unified School District embarked on its second year of a five-year plan to bring the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement to every school in the district.
What's for lunch? Look no further than the Tomahawk Cafe menu board.
Presentation goes a long way to make healthy foods appealing to students.
Nutrition education can take place in the cafeteria.
The Fresno Unified Nutrition Center partnered with UC CalFresh and the Dairy Council to implement SLM in all 16 middle schools this school year. Smarter Lunchrooms Manager, Danette Whitfield, took charge of assessing schools to amplify their strengths and identify opportunities for improvement based on the SLM scorecard system. District Supervisor, Morgan Terry, and District Registered Dietician, Amanda Harvey, took lead on meeting with administration and food service staff at each site to get them on board for the changes that would take place.
UC CalFresh's contributions to this movement included staff training and indirect nutrition education through improved lunchroom signage. All schools received revamped Welcome Posters, Lunch Menus and Menu Item Cards, all created to reflect nutritional information while incorporating school spirit, colors and mascots.
The real success came with the partnership and open-communication between the food service staff at each school site and the nutrition center management staff. As a result of the positive environmental changes adopted over the course of the school year, all 16 of the middle schools reached Gold status, which is the highest level on the SLM scorecard.
Fresno Unified has taken its first major steps to implement one of the largest Smarter Lunchrooms Movement's in the state by making these changes district-wide. There are always challenges to overcome when having the 4th largest school district in California, but the success seen in the 2015-2016 school year is just the beginning of the amazing changes we will see in Fresno Unified over the next few years.
- Author: Emily Valdez
- Contributor: Shawna Rogers
- Editor: Emily Harris
Fresno County's 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.
My rotation at UC Cal Fresh has been a fun experience filled with many opportunities to learn and try new things. I did everything during my rotation, from traveling to schools in Coalinga to teach students about MyPlate, to doing physical activity with the participants from Rescue the Children, to entering data, to watching presentations from NFCS (Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences) Advisor candidates. Everyone in the office was very welcoming and kind, and I was extremely grateful to do part of my internship here. Two weeks is too short for this rotation!
I did not know much about this nutrition program when I started; I only knew that they taught students about nutrition- which is what I was most nervous about. I have not had much experience with children, so I was a little hesitant to step up and teach them about MyPlate on my first day. However, because of the very supportive and friendly staff I was given the privilege to work with, I was teaching students with no problem by my second day! This rotation really helped me step out of my comfort zone. It was also very rewarding to see how such young children could be so interested in nutrition; they knew so much! By the end of my second day, I was able to recite the fun songs with the students. I really felt like I was teaching them something, and hopefully influencing them to make healthy choices. I was glad I was able to get this unique opportunity to work with students in the classroom; it made me more confident and comfortable working with this age group, and it also taught me some classroom management skills!
When I wasn't out in the schools teaching and observing I was usually helping with the EFNEP data entry, which was not the most exciting task, but I knew I was helping a very swamped employee lighten her load. Apart from that, during my first week I also had the opportunity to sit in on seminars and meet and greets with the NFCS Advisor candidates. The candidates were required to present a seminar and I was lucky enough to be included as an audience member during the presentations. I found this to be one of my favorite parts of the rotation because it was such a unique experience. As a future RD, it was great for me to see the search process this program goes through to find a new advisor. I learned a lot about hiring someone for the research field, and I gained a lot of tips about presenting for a job interview, which is something I am sure I will find myself doing in the future.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience at UC CalFresh. The team, my preceptor, and the students were all amazing. This is such a unique experience for dietetic interns, and it provided me with the opportunity to break out of my shell and practice my teaching skills, as well as witness NFCS Advisor seminars. After these short weeks I am definitely more comfortable around students and teaching. I am so happy to have had this experience!
- Author: Emily Harris
Hot weather makes cold dishes essential. What better way to cool off than with a healthy, nutrient packed salad. Let's rethink salads in this edition of Tasty Tips and find creative ways to make salads an interesting part of your week.
- Bulk up your salad.
Salads don't have to only include lettuce and salad dressing. Use the chart below to add protein, veggies and more to make your salad a filling meal.
Try out these salad combinations:
Spinach, Carrots, Avocado, Turkey and Oil & Vinegar
Romaine, Tomatoes, Onions, Cucumber, Low-Fat Cheese, Whole Wheat Croutons and a Low-Fat Dressing of Your Choice
Spring Mix, Apples, Dried Fruit, Nuts and Fresh-Squeezed Citrus
What's your perfect combination? Let us know in the comments below!
- Salad doesn't just mean leafy greens.
Check out these salads that are based in grains and other vegetables:
- Join the #MeatlessMonday Movement and make a goal to try a meat-free salad recipe every week.
Try one of these salad recipes or a salad recipe of your own, take a picture and tweet it to us @UCCalFreshFC with the hashtags: #UCCE #UCANR and the name of the recipe!
- Author: Sandra Ortega
- Contributor: Yolanda Lopez
The Adult Transition Program (ATP) is part of Fresno Unified School Districts Special Education Department. ATP provides functional life skills training to students who are eligible for special education services with moderate/severe disabilities. This program is designed with emphasis on life skills, so the students can reach their full potential as independently as possible at home, in school, in the community and in vocational settings.
UC CalFresh Nutrition Educators Sandra Ortega and Yolanda Lopez are delivering nutrition education from the "Eat Fit" curriculum to the students of ATP. The interactive lessons have the classes learning, dancing and having a great time!
The students of ATP have learned the importance of physical activity and do not let physical limitations keep them from working hard to be physically fit!
Stay tuned for more updates on these awesome students and dedicated teachers!
- Author: Nath Say
Did you know that cotton is a food crop?! I didn't, but Mrs. Anderson's TK class at Rowell Elementary did!
According to the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, cottonseed oil is used in products such as margarine, salad dressing, toothpaste, ice cream and cosmetics. Cotton production in Fresno County averages almost a million bales a year. (Fresno County Farm Bureau)
Cotton is just one of the many commodities that the TK class learned about when discussing agriculture in Fresno County and California. They also learned that Fresno County continues to be the top producing agricultural county in the nation. (Fresno County Farm Bureau)
Mrs. Anderson's class took the learning process a step further by creating a spectacular wall titled, “We Grow Food in Fresno County.” The wall showcased a Farmer's Market with a variety of fruits and vegetables such as grapes, tomatoes, and berries. Mrs. Anderson shared that this project was a great way to both inform students about the abundance of local foods that grow in their county and allowed them to connect the healthy foods to MyPlate.
Take a look at these impressive pictures of the classroom's Farmer's Market!
Wow- Look at the variety of delicious foods!
What fruits and vegetables do you see?
I see grapes, tomatoes, carrots, blueberries, and cotton!
Can you spot MyPlate?
Thank you to Mrs. Anderson and her students for their extraordinary work!