- Author: Evelyn Morales
UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program and Fresno Unified Nutrition Center are partnering up again this year to create healthier environments for students. This year's projects were presented to FUSD Kitchen Managers on July 27th during their beginning of the year training.
The OrganWise Guys
Fresno Unified will be rolling out a new project this year that will impact each of its elementary schools: The OrganWise Guys. Nath Say, UC CalFresh Program Supervisor, presented information on The Organ Wise Guys to Fresno Unified staff, detailing key messages and resources schools can use. UC CalFresh educators will be encouraging teachers who want to further their students' nutrition education to check out their school's OrganWise Guys Doll Kit.
Check out our other OrganWise Guys blog post!
Smarter Lunchrooms Kick Off for Elementary Schools
This year, UC CalFresh and Fresno Unified will be working together to implement the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement in 22 elementary schools. UC CalFresh's main focus will be to assist with new visuals, such as posters and menu boards, which will enhance the lunchroom environment and encourage students to choose and consume healthier foods. UC CalFresh Educators will also serve as resources for schools who want to build a healthier lunchroom and school environment.
Check out our other Smarter Lunchrooms Movement blog posts!
Stay tuned to see our progress throughout the year!/h3>/h2>/span>/h2>
- Author: Mishelle Petit
- Editor: Emily Harris
The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement is a national movement that focuses on improving a school's lunchroom environment to promote healthy eating behaviors amongst the students. Even small, low-cost/ no-cost solutions can have a big impact!
Have a blank wall in your cafeteria? Let UC CalFresh fill it with an educational Nutrition Corner! Take a look at the difference it's made at Birney Elementary.
This wall now features a Nutrition Corner highlighting the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, and the health benefits of each color!
Another empty space became an opportunity to emphasize MyPlate and healthy snack choices!
Even the milk carts are encouraging students to drink milk and eat healthy foods!
The blank wall above the water fountain is a great opportunity to encourage students to choose water instead of sugary beverages.
While finishing up in the cafeteria, UC CalFresh nutrition staff Evelyn Morales and Mishelle Petit were able to hear the reactions of students as they saw their updated cafeteria for the first time. Many students were quickly able to point out the new MyPlate images in their cafeteria. Some comments included:
"Hey look, it's MyPlate!"
"Wow, it's like Christmas!"
"MyPlate shows you healthy foods."
While returning to Birney Elementary to teach the lesson, "Choosing Healthy Snacks and Beverages," I asked students if they ever thought about how much sugar is in some of their favorite drinks. Students from almost every class eagerly raised their hands to share that they learned a soda has 8 teaspoons of sugar from the poster in the cafeteria. This goes to show that small changes can make a big difference!
If you have questions on the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, please click here.
- Author: Evelyn Morales
- Editor: Emily Harris
What does it mean to be healthy?
This was the question asked of 120 incoming high school freshmen attending the Summer Bridge Program* for Bullard High in Fresno, California.
In the first of the two sessions, students received EatFit workbooks and learned about setting goals and how to take steps to achieve their goals. Students were able to practice goal setting and develop major and minor fitness goals. In the second session, students were split up into groups and visited multiple stations, each pertaining to different nutrition topics. Stations exposed students to label reading with grains, protein, and sugar-based drinks.
At the final station, we sat down with students and asked them to respond to the following questions:
Is being healthy important to you?
Out of the 90 responses we received, 80 students (89%) responded, "Yes," it was important for them and 10 students (11%) responded, "No," it was not important to them.
We also asked: What does it mean to be healthy?
Being Healthy: 41%
"Being healthy means eating the right foods and getting good exercise."
This was the most common response from the students. Answers from this category consisted of students making better food choices, eating less junk food, being active, living a long, happy life and having a well-balanced life. Students also mentioned aspirations to travel and meet career goals as motivation to be healthy.
Playing Sports: 18%
"To play sports such as soccer, football, track, and cross country."
This group was made up of students who said being healthy meant doing well in sports and being physically fit. Most mentioned sports they currently play or sports teams they hope to be a part of in high school.
It's not important to be healthy: 11%
"Being healthy at an old age is important, but at a young age not necessarily."
Most of the students in this group answered by generally saying they didn't care about being healthy or that they felt it wasn't important to worry about being healthy right now. In one response, a student mentioned that it was important to take care of your body, but not until old age.
"[So] you don't end up in the hospital sooner."
These students made a connection between being healthy and getting sick or developing a disease. Students talked about wanting to live a healthy life and not wanting to end up in the hospital. The most common diseases mentioned by students included high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
"Being healthy is having a good body."
Ten percent of students mentioned weight status and fat in relation to being healthy. Most responses included students making a weight loss goal or wanting to lose weight.
"If I am healthy, I get to live longer and spend more time with my family"
Students also mentioned their family and their families' health as the definition of being healthy. Some students mentioned helping their family make healthy choices while others talked about not wanting their family to get sick.
What does this information tell us as nutrition educators?
In this small sample, most incoming freshmen were able to say,"yes, being healthy is important," along with a reason why it was important to them. So what does that information mean to us as nutrition educator's? It actually leads to another question: what can we do to help high school students reach their goals for healthy living? Perhaps this is the first of many conversations we need to have with students in this age group. This is also good information for Fresno Unified School District and the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program as we embark on our second year of implementing the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement district wide. In the fall we will be diving into high school campuses and cafeterias. How can we provide the best information and resources to help students reach their goals to live healthy lives? Personally speaking, I'm excited to head into the uncharted waters of the high school campuses for the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement. This can be an opportunity where our UC CalFresh team can impact students and the way they think about health.
What do you think it means to be healthy? Let us know in the comment section below.
*The Summer Bridge program provides resources for students who could benefit from additional support in the transition from middle school to high school. The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program worked with Bullard High counselors to teach lessons from the EatFit curriculum to students attending the summer session.
- Author: Emily Harris
- Contributor: Evelyn Morales
Developed out of Cornell University, the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM) seeks, “to equip school lunchrooms with evidence-based tools that improve child eating behaviors and thus improve the health of children.” This year Fresno Unified School District embarked on its second year of a five-year plan to bring the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement to every school in the district.
What's for lunch? Look no further than the Tomahawk Cafe menu board.
Presentation goes a long way to make healthy foods appealing to students.
Nutrition education can take place in the cafeteria.
The Fresno Unified Nutrition Center partnered with UC CalFresh and the Dairy Council to implement SLM in all 16 middle schools this school year. Smarter Lunchrooms Manager, Danette Whitfield, took charge of assessing schools to amplify their strengths and identify opportunities for improvement based on the SLM scorecard system. District Supervisor, Morgan Terry, and District Registered Dietician, Amanda Harvey, took lead on meeting with administration and food service staff at each site to get them on board for the changes that would take place.
(Pictured, left to right) Fresno Unified Food Services Director, Jose Alvarado, Fresno Unified Smarter Lunchrooms Manager, Danette Whitfield, and UC CalFesh State Office Smarter Lunchrooms Movement Program Representative, Mary Ann Mills
UC CalFresh's contributions to this movement included staff training and indirect nutrition education through improved lunchroom signage. All schools received revamped Welcome Posters, Lunch Menus and Menu Item Cards, all created to reflect nutritional information while incorporating school spirit, colors and mascots.
The real success came with the partnership and open-communication between the food service staff at each school site and the nutrition center management staff. As a result of the positive environmental changes adopted over the course of the school year, all 16 of the middle schools reached Gold status, which is the highest level on the SLM scorecard.
Fresno Unified has taken its first major steps to implement one of the largest Smarter Lunchrooms Movement's in the state by making these changes district-wide. There are always challenges to overcome when having the 4th largest school district in California, but the success seen in the 2015-2016 school year is just the beginning of the amazing changes we will see in Fresno Unified over the next few years.
- Author: Shelby MacNab
Building Smarter Lunchrooms
One of the concepts from the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement has to do with branding and promoting cafeteria meals to increase participation and the consumption of healthy foods. Fresno Unified launched a new soft taco at Computech earlier this week. With just a few promotional signs and flyers, the tacos were a hit!
Join the Movement
The total cost to promote the new taco was just over $11. Low-cost promotions can help school food service departments encourage students to try new things.
UC CalFresh can provide technical assistance to help start a Smarter Lunchrooms movement in your cafeteria! If you'd like to join the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement in Fresno County, email Shelby MacNab at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.