Posts Tagged: UC CalFresh
“I've reached more than 500 adults in the last year – in places like Exeter, Porterville, Cutler and Goshen,” Escalante said. “I go to senior centers, churches, welfare-to-work programs.”
Escalante visits each facility four times for one-hour sessions that include lessons from UC's research-based “Plan, Shop, Save, Cook” curriculum, plus physical activity and a cooking demonstration. Last week, Escalante presented the training to senior citizens in Exeter, a city of 10,000 near the Sierra Nevada foothills.
“When I go around the valley to different sites, a lot of people are familiar with ranch,” Escalante said holding up a bottle of dressing. “They like ranch, they use ranch for everything – pizza, fries, chicken wings and then we drench it on our salads. But did you know just two tablespoons is 160 calories. What if we switched it up, and tried a little honey mustard dressing? Two tablespoons is only 70 calories.”
Escalante explained the difference between good fats and bad fats and she taught the participants best practices for budget-minded grocery shopping.
Look at quantity, store-brand products and convenience to find savings, Escalante advised. Buying in bulk is often cheaper, but for seniors living alone, it may not be the most economical choice.
“You have to look at the size of your household,” Escalante said. “If we are going to save a few pennies buying the larger amount, but it's going to go to waste, it's not worth it. You have to look at the unit price, but also your household.
After leading the nutrition lesson, Escalante encouraged everyone to move to the beat of a Latin tune.
"Come on everybody, let's get up," she called. "You can do it sitting down. If you're sitting down, use your hands. If you can stand, go around in circles."
To close the class, Escalante whipped up a “monster smoothie,” which looks like “something that oozed out of a swamp, but tastes great and has monster nutrition,” said the recipe handout. A key ingredient is kale, a leafy green that contributes vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, plus the minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Find the recipe below the video:
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1 overripe banana, cliced
- 1 apple, cored and chopped
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons toasted almonds or walnuts (optional)
- Put the kale, banana, apple, blueberries, yogurt, orange juice and nuts in athe blender. Put the top on tightly.
- Turn the blender to medium and blend until the mixture is very smooth.
- Serve right away or store in a thermos or covered in the refrigerator up to 4 hours.
As the school year comes to a close, the schools we work with are humming with end of the year festivities. Students are looking forward to summer break, but always ask if we will be on campus teaching nutrition next school year. The answer is an enthusiastic yes!
As we say our temporary goodbyes for the summer, we've been reflecting on all of the wonderful experiences we've had. UC CalFresh staff really enjoy collaborating with teachers dedicated to helping children and families build healthier lifestyles. It's a joy to see children learn to make healthier choices over the school year.
Here are some of the highlights from our work in community nutrition education that we couldn't wait to share!
The above images capture just a glimpse into the exciting world of nutrition education. This year we've celebrated alongside parents who have earned a certificate in our class series, helped establish nutrition corners to promote healthy eating, and so much more! We can't wait to see what next school year holds!
To learn more about the nutrition education happening in Fresno County, visit the UC CalFresh blog.
To supplement their food supply, Californians can turn to the CalFresh program, which was formerly known as food stamps. The federal program is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
To help CalFresh participants stretch their food dollars and maintain a nutritious diet, the University of California’s CalFresh Nutrition Education Program offers a series of four workshops called "Plan, Shop, Save and Cook." In a follow-up survey, UC Cooperative Extension advisors Dorothy Smith and Marcel Horowitz found that one-third of the 1,373 people who participated in the workshops said they weren’t running out of food by the end of the month as often.
In the first workshop, people learn the benefits of preparing a balanced meal plan. To do this, they discuss building meals around store specials, foods on-hand and leftovers, while including family favorites.
During the second workshop, participants read the nutrition labels on foods and learn how to make the best nutritional choices while shopping.
In the third workshop, UC CalFresh instructors show the participants how to determine the least expensive options for the items on their grocery list. For example, if buying beef, chuck roast is cheaper and contains less fat than sirloin. Unit pricing, bulk purchases, generic brands, convenience items, alternative protein sources and preventing spoilage and waste are things to consider when choosing food products.
During the final workshop, the participants prepare and taste dishes made with low-cost nutritious foods. They put their new knowledge into practice by creating a one-week meal plan.
In San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, UC CalFresh have teamed up with local food banks to encourage families to eat more fruits and vegetables. Using fresh produce from the food banks, UC CalFresh nutrition representatives prepared fruits and vegetables in healthful dishes, which were tasted by participating families.
UC CalFresh is showing Californians that nutritious and tasty meals don’t have to cost a lot.
Betsy Knapp, a former social worker, always knew that she loved helping people. But the experience of becoming a UC CalFresh Master Education Extender revealed her passion for nutrition education.
The Master Education Extender Team (MEET) was designed to recruit volunteers in the community and train them to extend UC CalFresh family-centered nutrition education in the community.
MEET is growing rapidly. Just nine months old, MEET has six active extenders who have delivered nutrition education based on USDA's MyPlate guidelines at various targeted community events and within Fresno Unified School District schools.
We have received a great response from interested community members whose backgrounds vary from pre-med students to UC CalFresh nutrition education series graduates. Fifteen new extender trainees are registered for our next quarterly orientation.
“I believe that had I not volunteered with MEET, I never would have found this great job doing exactly what I love and was trained to do," Betsy said. "I don’t think people realize that MEET is a great opportunity for professional development. This program is needed in our community.”
To learn more about MEET or to complete an application to participate in the program, visit our website.
These classes impart an array of useful skills onto beginner gardeners, potentially translating into positive outcomes, such as improved diet and savings on groceries.
What to do with all of that home-grown produce?
With funding from the UC Agriculture Sustainability Institute - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, we were able to incorporate nutrition lessons and cooking demonstrations into the 4-week garden series by training Master Gardener volunteers to deliver Fresh from the Garden lessons into low-income community gardens. This is a resource that was designed to increase gardeners' knowledge of healthful eating habits, while emphasizing the health benefits associated with a vegetable-rich diet. Each Fresh from the Garden lesson features preparation and tasting of a healthy fresh vegetable recipe. Through these lessons, the beginner gardeners learned how to store, prepare and cook a wide variety of home-grown vegetables alongside the gardening instruction.
Reaping the benefits of vegetable gardening
Through this project we have demonstrated promising results with the combination of gardening, cooking and nutrition instruction. We plan to continue the delivery of Fresh from the Garden in the coming year through the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in coordination with the Master Gardener Program. CalFresh (formerly Food Stamp) participants are allowed to use their benefits to purchase seeds and plants for household consumption, which opens the door for exciting possibilities for this program!