- Author: Evelyn Morales
Fresno and Madera Counties' UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program has a long-standing partnership with the Fresno State Dietetic Internship Program. This blog post is part of our Intern Reflections Series.
During my short two weeks at UCCE, I had the privilege of meeting passionate individuals who gave 200% of their efforts to teach adult and children about the importance of living a healthy well-rounded life. The staff was friendly, and they created a great learning environment for me.
I had the privilege of being part of the first poster party. Through this event, I learned that children enjoy creating projects that can be displayed in a communal area such as the cafeteria. I needed a serving of fruits and vegetables to regain my energy after that party! The children and I had a blast.
Helping a Rowell student choose his favorite fruit
I was also tasked with creating a Nutrition Corner. My goal for this assignment was to create a poster that was easy to understand for any age group. I wanted it to be colorful, and I wanted it to have few words. This assignment helped bring out the little creativity I have.
"Vary Your Vegetables" Nutrition Corner
My favorite part of this rotation was going to Vinland Elementary and teaching the little minds about the importance of protein and exercise. They were so excited to learn about the different types of protein and how physical activity helps build muscles. This event was very fun, but also a bit of a challenge. I learned that children need to be engaged in a fun visual activity or else they will focus their attention elsewhere. Thankfully I had Chris by my side to help me regain the children's attention. If the children lost focus, we would have them do quick fun exercises.
Doing fun exercises with Vinland students
On my last day at UCCE, I worked alongside Lorena, a Small Farms and Specialty Crop advisor, to conduct a taste test with a special leaf named moringa. Lorena is currently working with small farmers to bring moringa awareness to the public. This ancient leaf is packed with protein and other vitamins and minerals. This assignment was by far the most challenging part of the rotation. I was tasked with creating an original recipe that would incorporate moringa. Previously, I had never heard of moringa, and I did not know about its health benefits. I was not sure what it paired well with or how it tasted. So I put on my chef-thinking hat, and I created a recipe that looked appealing, and I chose to use ingredients that would mask the bitter taste of moringa. I created a modified version of moringa pesto pasta. The recipe came out yummmyyy!
Moringa pesto pasta recipe ready to be tasted
This rotation allowed me to experience the extensive preparation that is required to conduct a nutrition class. Not only does the educator have to know about the lesson they are going to teach, they also have to be prepared to answer questions and address many nutrition myths. Even though it takes a lot of preparation to teach these nutrition courses, they are very rewarding. Every class I observed I learned something new. The adults are looking for practical tips that will help them save time and money. The children are looking for interactive activities that are visually appealing and that allow them to use their motor skills. I will be able to use the tips I learned at UCCE CalFresh when I am providing nutrition education to future patient/clients.