Fostering changes one #healthyselfie at a time
A group of participants in the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education program will graduate next week ready to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired to make healthy choices for themselves and their families. Let's find out what healthy changes they have made:
“I added whole grains.”
“Put more vegetables in daily diet.”
“Serving more fruits and veggies.”
“Eating more greens and less fatty foods.”
“Eating more colorful vegetables.”
“Don't leave meat out!”
“Eating more vegetables and fruits.”
“Being more physically active.”
The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education program is a no-cost, evidence-based course focusing on nutrition, physical activity, food safety and resource management offered to low-income youth and adults. Community partnerships are essential for successful, sustainable programming.
The Fresno-Madera County UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program is currently hosting an Eat Smart, Being Active class series in partnership with a local job training agency. Participants attending Proteus' Jobs 2000 classes are offered nutrition education as part of their ongoing education, job training and job placement services. UC CalFresh maintains an ongoing partnership with Proteus Inc., enabling us to expand our reach and assist low-income families to make informed and educated decisions when it comes to their health.
The current class has covered topics including:
- Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins into meals and snacks.
- The importance of physical activity, and the health benefits one derives from maintaining a healthy diet alongside an active lifestyle.
- Resource management, to encourage participants to stretch food dollars while making the healthiest food choices.
- The importance of dairy foods and calcium for bone health.
As a nutrition educator, I always encourage participants to make healthy lifestyle changes, regardless of how incrementally it's done. Whether it means walking around the block during lunch or breaks, or adding more fruits and vegetables to everyday meals, no change is too small. Health changes made gradually enable us to maintain them over time.
Below are a few tips I like to provide series participants:
- Start with a goal that is achievable and time bound.
- As you achieve your health goals, challenge yourself further. For example, you may be accustomed to drinking whole milk and have effectively transitioned to reduced-fat milk (2%). Don't stop there, challenge yourself and go for low-fat (1%) milk.
- Write down your health goal, this will keep you accountable.
- Your health goal should be fun and enjoyable, involve your family or friends to make it social. For example, create a neighborhood walking club and encourage others in your community to be more active.
- Celebrate your successes!
- For more tips, I encourage participants to visit choosemyplate.gov. There are always new resources available to make a healthy lifestyle easier.
Lifestyle changes happen gradually, and Jobs 2000 participants are leading the way toward building healthier families, while encouraging others to do so too. Together we can inspire others to make healthy changes!
I want to encourage you to take a #healthyselfie to inspire others within your community to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Use the hashtags #UCCE and #healthyselfie, and follow @UCCalFreshFC and @UCANR to stay connected with our social media platforms, for more healthy tips, and for updates about events and classes in the Central Valley. You can join and stay connected to the work being done in Fresno and Madera counties across many platforms including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and our Blog.
Pictured above are (clockwise, from upper left) Brenda, Cheyenne and Mercedes who showcase their #healthyselfie with goals for food safety, eating more leafy greens and being more physically active.