- Author: Evelyn Morales
During my rotation at University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, I had a great time and learned about fun and engaging ways to provide nutrition education to children and adults. I like what this program does for our community since nutrition education is essential to living a healthy life and prevent many diet-related diseases.
During my first week, I had the opportunity to create a Nutrition Corner for children about whole grains and write a blog about healthy treats for children on Halloween. I learned that using straightforward terms, pictures that represent the audience, and colorful and attractive items are a must on these projects to attract readers and accomplish the purpose of creating those tools.
That week I also got to attend the Walk to School Day in Madera. An event like this takes time and communication to coordinate. Public authorities, schools, and Public Health Department of Madera worked together with UC CalFresh to make this event remarkably fun for children while promoting physical activity. I helped the team organize the games and encourage children to be more active. I also learned that as nutrition and health educator, my job is to care about my community and maintain their health in all aspects, and part of that was helping children to cross the streets safely.
Teaching children from different grades, from Pre-K to 4th grade, and participating in two adult classes were amazing experiences during my second week. During college, I mostly worked with the adult population, but working with children is quite different. I did not know how to present nutrition information to children, especially younger ones because they get bored or easily distracted. I learned by observing nutrition educators, Carissa and Mishelle. I realized that working with children is really fun. One has to be very creative to teach the nutrition information in a simple, but engaging and enjoyable way. I was amazed at the number of teaching tools that UC CalFresh has, like interactive posters to food models, which are very helpful to share your message. Also, I discovered that being very specific with instructions is vital when working with children since all of them are very energetic and want to participate in all activities.
Finally, on my last day, I got to teach a MyPlate nutrition lesson on my own to Hispanic adults. My knowledge, experience, and background helped me to successfully communicate and teach the lesson. I felt great when some of the adults thanked me and told me that they had learned a lot, and were enthusiastic about applying that information to eat healthier.
Providing nutrition education to members of my community has been one of the most rewarding experiences as an intern. Knowing that children are receiving nutrition education so early in life, as well as teaching about health and nutrition to parents makes me realized the importance of programs like UC CalFresh. With their fantastic work, Nutrition Educators are making sure that the diets of the whole family are improved to maintain health by eating healthy.
- Author: Angelica Perez
Madison Elementary School from Madera Unified School School District has received a $5,000 Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant for a school garden project.
We are thrilled to announce that Lowe's has awarded the Madison Elementary School funding for the Madison Mavericks "WE BELIEVE" in Healthy Living! garden project. Our grant application was based on the goal of improving the learning community at Madison Elementary School. We look forward to sharing the Madison Mavericks “WE BELIEVE” in Healthy Living! garden project with the Madison Elementary and surrounding community. This garden will give the students the opportunity to learn, plant, harvest and try new foods which they will have experienced to cultivate on their own. This will ultimately nurture and improve the learning community at Madison Elementary School.
The grant application was based on the goal of implementing the garden component of the Shaping Healthy Choices Program in Mrs. Roxie Schallberger's 4th grade classroom. The Shaping Healthy Choices Program is an inquiry-based, garden enhanced nutrition education curricula developed by the Center for Nutrition in Schools at UC Davis and is being implemented in the classroom by UC CalFresh Coordinator, Angelica Perez. We are now in the planning stages of this project, but are eager to get the garden growing for the students to learn.
Mrs. Roxie Schallbereger's 4th grade class holding a thank you sign and the $5,000 check donated by Lowe's.
“Thank you Lowe's for awarding Madison Elementary this grant! Your generosity will allow our students to touch worms, smell fresh herbs, taste new foods, and see the beauty of growing healthy food!" said Mrs. Roxie Schallberger.
All K-12 public schools in the United States are eligible for the Toolbox for Education program. More information is available at www.ToolboxforEducation.com.
Ayer Elementary's cafeteria received a Nutrition Corner update - the Physical Activity Crossword! It shows students different terms related to physical fitness and reminds them to be active for at least one hour every day. Engaging in physical activity has many benefits, including lowering our risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers. It can even benefit children academically! Be sure to encourage your students and family be active regularly!
Nutrition Corners are a wonderful way to reiterate nutrition messaging at sites of all kinds - schools, community centers, etc. To get a Nutrition Corner going at your site, contact your Nutrition Program Coordinator or Educator and click here for ideas.
As the school year picks up and we head into fall, we have another opportunity to reset our habits and embrace some healthier choices. This month, Storey Elementary's Nutrition Corner was updated with a "Harvest Healthy Habits" theme, encouraging Storey staff to make healthy choices as the season turns. Check out the picture below and read on for more details.
Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages! While these drinks are fine in moderation, water is always the best choice for our body. Make sure you're staying hydrated even as the weather cools down.
Read the Nutrition Facts label! It contains so much helpful information, including serving sizes, sugar, protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. If you've never checked one out before, take a look and compare some foods next time you're in the grocery store.
Be active! It is recommended that children get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Adults need 2.5 hours of aerobic activity, such as walking or soccer every week, along with doing strength training exercise twice a week.
Add fruits and vegetables to your favorite dishes! From blueberries in your waffles to sweet potatoes in your enchiladas, there are so many ways to increase our fruit and veggie intake. Click here for recipes and ideas!
Wash your hands often! Washing our hands is one of the easiest and effective ways to reduce the spread of germs. Be sure to wash your hands after school, coming home from errands, after playing outside or with pets, and before cooking or eating.
Set achievable goals! Goal setting can be challenging, but it's much more manageable when we set realistic expectations. It's much easier to make a change slowly, instead of all at once.
Cover your cough! Colds are all too common in the colder seasons. Be sure to cover your cough to keep those around you from getting sick.
Portion your holiday treats! Although delicious, many of our favorite holiday treats are high in calories, sugar, and fat. Practice moderation and be mindful of how much of them you eat at a time.
Try these tips as we enter the cooler seasons and let us know how you and your family stay healthy!
Ayer Elementary's staff lounge got a new Nutrition Corner just in time for spring. As warmer weather sets in and kids start to have time off from school, there's so many more opportunities to be active and eat fresh, sweet fruits and vegetables.
Here's some tips to "bee healthy" this spring:
- Stay hydrated! It's important that both kids and adults drink enough water as the weather warms up. If you're not a fan of plain water, try adding whole fruit for a sweet twist without all the sugar.
- Get enough sleep! After our wet winter, it's nice to get outside and be more active, but to stay healthy, we need to be sure to get enough sleep.
- Be active! Swimming and biking and hiking, oh my! With spring and summer breaks and long sunny days, there's so many ways to stay in shape in the warm months. Adults should encourage their kids to get moving for at least 60 minutes every day.
- Eat your MyPlate foods! Eating healthy foods is vital to having the energy and strength to do everything we love and keep our body working properly. It's tempting for kids to give in to less healthy foods as they start to have more leisure time, but it's important for all of us to be sure we're eating a quality diet.
We'd love to hear how you stay active and healthy as the new season rolls around. Share with us in the comments below!