- 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>
- Author: Brittanny Zweigle
- Editor: Emily Harris
UC CalFresh Fresno/Madera MCP enjoyed being a part of the Fresno Unified Food Expo that took place on Saturday, May 14th.
The cafeteria at Roosevelt High School was filled with food vendors from throughout the valley, providing a variety of tasty foods for everyone!
The Dairy Council's Mobile Dairy even came to join the fun!
Alongside other community partners, UC CalFresh team members Brittanny Zweigle and Evelyn Morales were able to share information on MyPlate and provide easy tips and recipes showcasing how to add a variety of healthy foods into one's diet. The pair also provided an apricot taste test; after all, it was a Food Expo! Evelyn taught participants the benefits of dried fruit and the appropriate serving size to consume.
UC CalFresh hopes to see even more vendors, community partners and participants next year!
- 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!