- Author: Evelyn Morales
Over the last two weeks at UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, I learned fun and innovative ways to provide nutrition education to children and adults. The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program helps families, adults, and children by teaching nutrition lessons at schools and community events. During my time interning at UC CalFresh, I had the opportunity to learn about the program through teaching children nutrition classes.
On my first day, I was introduced to the staff and was given a tour of the facility. I knew very little about UC CalFresh; so, it was good to learn about an organization that teaches nutrition education to the local community. I was told that I would be teaching the following day at Roeding Elementry school for youth lessons. I was a bit nervous because I had very little experience working with young children; but after watching the staff educator Nora teach Pre-K, kindergarten, and 5th-grade classes; I was able to get the groove of things and quickly picked up on some of her teaching strategies and classroom management techniques.
The following day I traveled to Bailey Elementary in Firebaugh to teach preschoolers about MyPlate and Potter the Otter. I was astonished by the students' ability to remember the MyPlate model and the key messages provided during the lesson. When reviewing MyPlate we helped the students associate certain foods with specific food groups. For example, we would point to the grains group and ask the students the color, the name of the group, foods found within the group, and the key message as to why it's are important. I was amazed by their knowledge of nutrition. Not only did they know the foods within the groups, they understood the key messages associated with the different food groups. Awesome!
For the second half of the lesson, I read the book Potter the Otter Goes to Market. This book talked about the importance of eating healthy with friends and family. The students loved the story and I made sure to engage the children by encouraging participation and answering questions about the book.
The following week I taught youh classes at many different sites in Fresno. I also participated in a Moringa project, where I created overnight oats and spiced morning oatmeal. These two breakfast entrees were infused with moringa and taste tested on my last day. I found the overnight oats recipe to be my favorite.
I also created a UC CalFresh Nutrition Corner poster board that emphasized the importance of whole grains and physical activity. The Nutrition Corner poster board will be used at a school site for nutrition outreach.
I would like to thank UC CalFresh Nutrition Program for this opportunity. I had not had much experience with children prior to this rotation so I felt that it was beneficial to me as a future registered dietitian. I had the opportunity to visit different school sites while teaching nutrition education to various age groups throughout the week. This rotation helped me to step out of my comfort zone and I truly felt that I was teaching the kids the importance of nutrition. I am grateful for this unique rotation and to be able to work with students in the classroom; it has made me more confident in working with this age group. This rotation has shown me the impact that community nutrition can make. Thank you!