- 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: Ruth Salazar
The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program partnered with Dairy Council of California, Madera County and Public Health for this year's Summer Meals in Madera County. The event's goal was to provide meals to children during the summer as well as provide fun physical activities.
Young girl enjoying her time while playing the parachute activity
The event took place on June 29, 2018 at the McNally Memorial Park in Madera, where they provided information booths and free physical activities. The physical activities took place after the children were given their healthy meal. Staff established an area in the park where CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) activities could take place such as parachute, parade around, and frog on the lily pads. Physical activity games where provided for about 200 children from the age range of K-5th grade.
UC CalFresh staff Austin and Coraima explaining a CATCH activity
Elizabeth competing to capture the flag
During the games, other staff educated children on the MyPlate through games and brochures. While at the booth children were explained the importance of following the MyPlate and incorporating a balanced meal while including the five food groups.
Young boy enjoying himself through the parachute activity
Children showcasing frogs on the lily pad.
- Author: Ruth Salazar
UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program has continued its partnership with Madera's Community Action Partnership of Madera County Head Start by providing nutrition lessons. On May 7th the Madera UC CalFresh Team had the opportunity to present to Madera's Head Start teachers on how to utilize our Happy Healthy Me… Moving, Munching & Reading Around My Plate curriculum.
Elizabeth Lopez presenting at the training
This curriculum's goal is to have 4-6 years old children develop healthy eating and physically activity habits that will last a lifetime. At the training the staff demonstrated the many aspects that the curriculum has to offer such as physical activity games, nutrition activities, and arts and crafts that correlate with the specific lesson. After completing the training more than 50 teachers have been trained and enrolled on the curriculum. More than sixty children will benefit from this training through their teachers new skills in the curriculum.
Head Start teachers attending the training
Ruth and Elizabeth explaining the activities from Happy Healthy Me curriculum
- 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: Angelica Perez
Madera Unified School District is in the second year of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant, and continues to provide quality physical education in all schools. Some of the major goals of this grant are to help students in improving physical fitness and encouraging healthy eating habits. Other items include also providing the physical education teachers with more approaches to teach physical education and nutrition. The wellness committee is heavily involved in the promotion of student health. Several agencies who focus on community nutrition education joined forces to help meet the grant's goals. UC CalFresh, Dairy Council of California and the Local Public Health Department partner and provide nutrition education resources to MUSD physical education teachers. Together these agencies collaborate to provide trainings, such as basic nutrition, curriculum implementation and will continue to support teachers throughout the year.
Presenters: Phoebe Copp, Dairy Council of California (left) and Angelica Perez, UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program (right) providing one of the first nutrition trainings to Madera Unified Physical Education Teachers.
UC CalFresh is taking part by providing nutrition resources for 6th-grade students and has begun training sessions with their physical education teachers using the Eat Fit Curriculum. The curriculum will allow the students to create goals intended to help in the improvement of eating and fitness lifestyle choices. Aligning goals with our partners is key for success. The students will reap the benefits of the Madera Unified School District (MUSD) Wellness Committee.