- 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.
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.
As the lessons continued, the student groups were assigned a country and an artwork project that gathered different information about their country. This information included the agriculture practices, food that was grown and sold and even some cultural dishes. The students had fun creating their country's artwork.
The groups did a wonderful job in representing their respective countries and also showed how creative they are!
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.
- Author: Christopher Deleon
Community centers provide learning opportunities and resources for local residents. They provide spaces for community members to become more involved in their community, their neighborhoods, and themselves. This summer the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program collaborated with the Holistic Cultural & Education Wellness Center to provide nutrition education classes to community members in the area. The Holistic Cultural & Education Wellness Center provides community members with a wide variety of services to encourage a well-balanced lifestyle.
UC CalFresh provides nutrition education classes in both Spanish and English. Participants feel the classes help them make healthier decisions for themselves and their families.
Participants learn the importance of fruits and vegetables, planning meals to save money; and limiting salt, sugar and fat intake.
Participants also learn the importance of physical activity and strength training.
UC CalFresh had a great time collaborating with the center and providing lessons to families!