- Author: Ashley Elisabeth Abrahamson
Although the majority of the United States population consumes three meals a day, 40 to 50 percent also consume two to three snacks a day and about one-third consume four or more snacks a day. As outlined in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating an appropriate mix of foods (including vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, protein foods, and oils) is important to promote good health. On Healthy Snack Day, attendees were reminded that healthy eating patterns can be achieved by making small changes in food choices, including healthy snacking, over the course of a week, a day, or even a meal.
In partnership with Champions for Change Statewide Day of Action, UC CalFresh educators Ashley Abrahamson, Angelica Perez, Elizabeth Lopez, and Ruth Salazar hosted a Healthy Snack Day Event at Madera Housing Authority's community center on August 29th. At this event, the community was invited to learn about incorporating healthy MyPlate foods as everyday snacks. Participants were encouraged to try easy and healthy hummus and veggies, and given the recipe to make at home. Participants were also given a recipe wheel that can be used to find a quick and easy snack recipes based on different cravings - such as savory, sweet, and spicy. You can find the personal recipe finder here. The event also included a C.A.T.C.H. activity obstacle course for children to compete in.
Overall, Healthy Snack Day was a fun educational event that shared helpful information about making snacks healthier. The community was encouraged to incorporate the MyPlate into meals and snacks, as well as create opportunities for daily physical activity.
- Author: Elizabeth Lopez
UC CalFresh launched the new and improved Eating Smart, Being Active nutrition classes in Madera county. The first stop was Virginia Lee Rose Elementary! To reach parents, UC CalFresh partnered with the Parent Resource Center. Parent Resource Centers are found at seven elementary schools within Madera Unified School District. Their goal is to provide resources that will help parents with their children's education while also encouraging parents to become involved in their children's school.
With the help of Parent Resource Center staff, UC CalFresh was able to host a nutrition series for Virginia Lee Rose parents from March to April. Parents who participated, learned proper knife skills, how to make meals healthy and be physically active, and so much more!
While some had experience following a recipe, for others, this was their first time following a recipe and measuring out ingredients. The five parents who participated in the class series expressed that they enjoyed the experience and the information learned.
- Author: Ashley Elisabeth Abrahamson
Sugary beverages are a sneaky source of excess sugar and calories. According to the CDC (2017), every day 63% of children and 49% of adults drink a sugar-sweetened beverage. Increasing awareness of how to identify and visualize amounts of sugar on a nutrition label can help people make healthier beverage choices.
On May 16th, UC CalFresh took part in the Champions for Change: Rethink Your Drink Day campaign. Nutrition educators Ashley Abrahamson and Nora Lopez set up an informational activity booth at UC Walks Day at the Garden of the Sun in Fresno. Their display included nutrition facts of common sugary beverages and bowls to measure the amount of sugar so that participants can truly see what the sugar content in their favorite drinks looks like. Participants were also encouraged to use the Beverage Breakdown website to see how much sugar they end up drinking throughout the entire day. To finish the event, participants were provided a sample of refreshing cucumber and mint water.
The Statewide Day of Action was conducted at over 308 sites, sharing valuable information that will encourage healthier choices across the state!
Are you ready to rethink your drink? Try the beverage breakdown here!
UC CalFresh Fresno/Madera County will also particpate in Champions for Change Statewide Day of Action: Healthy Snack Day on August 29th, 2018/span>
- Author: Angelica Perez
Mrs. Roxie Schallberg quickly acknowledged that implementing the Lowe's garden grant required more than just a vision. After Madison Elementary received the grant money, there were steps to take with the district, school and maintenance staff to make this vision come to life.
To begin the garden project, Angelica Perez, UC CalFresh coordinator, supported Mrs. Roxie Schallberger in applying for the grant. Once the grant was awarded she was able to guide her in scheduling a meeting to help her in the initial steps to begin the grant implementation. In the meeting was Madison Principal Mercedes Ochoa, and Curtis Manganaan, Director of Maintenance and Operations for the district. They both played a key role in helping to identify barriers and solutions and how to bring together a new garden at the school site. As the meeting ended, all the information and next steps where identified and the garden vision was soon becoming a reality.
The garden beds were recommended to be built by Ripperdan Community Day School in Madera, CA. Students in Mr. Scanlan's wood shop class were tasked with building the wooden garden beds and benches for Madison. Maintenance staff are also much appreciated for the design of the garden location, leveling the ground, fencing off the area and in making the garden area nice and easy to use. Finally, the “We Believe in Healthy Living" Madison Mavericks garden sign came in after the beds and benches were in place. The garden is now ready to be fully used. Although the original plan for the Madison garden took a turn in the beginning planning changes, the new location and design was even better than the original plan.
The We Believe in Healthy Living Garden at Madison Elementary was a big team effort that created impactful connections with Mrs. Schallberger, Madison Staff, UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, Lowe's, Ripperdan Community Day School and the school district and maintenance staff. All of these collaborations and contributions make the Madison Mavericks We Believe in Healthy Living garden project even more special. The school looks forward to its official garden opening day next year and will plan to have lessons in the garden for all grade levels that wish to participate. Below are some pictures detailng the progress of the garden.
- Author: Sergio Perez
UC Calfresh joined Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC) to promote a new vegetable to the Calwa Elementary students during the Fresh Grub event on February 28th. Fresh Grub links with school cafeterias to provide students with locally grown produce. At this event, the new vegetable that was introduced to children, teachers, and parents was jicama. The event was hosted by Fresno EOC, and UC Calfresh was there to support in providing direct education and facilitating a jicama taste test with the students. Others that played a big part in developing the event include Fresno State Community and Economic Development, Fresno Unified School District, and Fresno County Farm Bureau. ABC30 News was also present to film the event.
Calwa's UC Calfresh Nutrition Program Educator, Sergio, is ready to present educational information on jicama.
UC Calfresh Nutrition Program Educator, Mishelle, shows a picture on how jicama originally looks like before being cut.
Tasting 1: Plain Jicama
Tasting 2: Jicama with Lemon
The grade levels that participated in the jicama taste testing were 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade students. There were two types of tastings the students were exposed to. The first tasting was jicama by itself, and the second was jicama with lemon. The UC Calfresh team recorded the student's response of ever trying jicama, if they tried it at the time, were they willing to eat it again, and if they were willing to ask for it at home. Afterwards, ABC30 News asked the students' feedback and opinion on the tasting. At the end of the students taste test, we had teachers and parents taste both tastings and give us their response on whether they would serve the plain jicama or jicama with lemon at home.
To record students' responses accurately and prevent students from influencing one another, UC Calfresh educators would have them have their heads down, and show a thumb up for ‘yes.'
Students were excited to try new foods. For those who have tried it, they were surprised at seeing other ways jicama can be eaten. Different ways jicama was represented included eating it in a form of French fries, salad, or a taco shell.
Parents and staff from Calwa Elementary tasting the jicama with their children.
Group photo with the staff members of Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Fresno Unified School District, and UC Calfresh.
The Fresh Grub was a successful event. There were about 200 students who participated, as well as parents and teachers who did the jicama taste test at the end. Fresno's EOC and UC Calfresh did a great job coordinating the event. UC Calfresh will continue to push healthy eating to the students in the cafeteria, as this can help make healthier decisions and explore different foods.