nutrition

Nutrition Education in Action

group of people under a tent outdoorsExtension is out and about – and you may run into us at a local event. Our nutrition educators were at two events on Saturday, September 17th.
 
First, the public learned how “Healthy Eating can Boost Your Immune System” through two on-site classes and cooking demonstrations at the Danbury Farmers’ Market. Participants learned how to prepare fiesta rice salad with local farm fresh ingredients. This program reached 64 people. Assistant Extension Educator, Heather Peracchio. Fairfield County Program Aide, Juliana Restrepo-Marin and Nuvance Health Dietetic Intern Jillian Stickles.
 
Then, in the afternoon, UConn Extension participated in the Second Annual Hispanic Heritage Festival sharing bilingual nutrition tips for families. We reached over 75 participants.

ConnCAP and SNAP-Ed/EFNEP

Riley holding a MyPlate in front of a white board with nutrition tips

Article by Riley Courtney

In July, Heather Peracchio, RDN and summer Extension intern Riley Courtney visited UConn’s Stamford campus for the purpose of providing nutrition and healthy eating education to teen members of the ConnCAP program. To start off, the two instructed the group on some principals of nutrition using the USDA’s MyPlate as a centerpiece. From there, they covered budget friendly tips on choosing the least expensive, healthiest options when perusing the aisle to spicing up typical college dorm go to’s with extra nutrition. Teens used photos of common foods to come up with healthy meal combinations that included more fruits and vegetables. As a culmination of this effort, a brief cooking demonstration and tasting was offered featuring a quick and easy yogurt parfait recipe including whole grain oat cereal, fresh and frozen fruits, and fat-free vanilla yogurt. All in all, the SNAP-Ed team had the class covered.

Comments on the Workshop:

  • Most Useful
    • Eating better on a budget handout
    • Getting more creative with leftovers
    • Being more creative with food
    • Combining unhealthy with healthy foods
    • Meal planning and budgeting tips
    • Eating fruits and veggies in season
    • Using food photo cards to create a nutritious meal
  • Tips to Use Going Forward
    • Knowing what foods mix well with others
    • Being more creative
    • To meal plan
    • To eat more fruits/veggies
    • Try new foods
    • How to save money
    • Compare and contrast technique
    • Looking at the unit prices of foods
  • Helpful Info for Future Workshops
    • Working out and more info about nutrients
    • Making new foods, food/cooking demos
    • Making foods already eating healthier

What is SNAP-Ed? Intern Jenna Zydanowicz Explains

Jenna ZydanowiczMy name is Jenna Zydanowicz, I am a rising junior, and an Allied Health Science major. I have a passion for nutrition, engaging with the community, and trying to promote healthy lifestyles. I love being able to educate families, children, and adults on the importance of nutrition and still eating well on a low income budget. I am an intern for UConn School and Family, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- Education Program (SNAP-Ed). The purpose of the SNAP-Ed program is to assess, develop, implement, and evaluate tailored direct nutrition education to SNAP recipients at multiple diverse sites in numerous Connecticut towns. We provide fact-based and tailored online information to support healthy eating and physical activity. A few of our direct education reaches parents of young toddlers, preschoolers, and parents with children ages 5 to 18. We also reach adults, senior centers, food pantries and mobile food distribution to provide recipes and information related to healthy eating for those in need. We facilitate access to affordable healthy foods by partnering with experts at UConn and in the community. We use multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach target audiences and provide easy access to nutrition information. We provide many different types of nutrition related resources such as recipes, handouts, food samples, and access to our Healthy Family CT website. A few goals the SNAP- Ed program have are to increase the target audience’s knowledge and skill to achieve healthier diet and access local and affordable healthy food, improve their willingness to consume a healthier diet while encouraging an increase in physical activities, and increase their diet quality.

Website: https://healthyfamilyct.cahnr.uconn.edu/

Nutrition Education in the Community Through SNAP-Ed

Brooke BoscoHello everyone! My name is Brooke Bosco, and I am a rising senior majoring in Dietetics. This summer I am an extension intern working with the UConn School and Family Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education Program (SNAP-Ed). UConn Healthy Family CT SNAP-Ed works towards accomplishing Connecticut’s goals and objectives to deliver nutrition education and physical activity messages to SNAP-Ed recipients and those who are eligible. We focus on delivering fact-based, tailored nutrition education to our target population of income-challenged adults, families, and children who may be experiencing food insecurity. We reach these groups in different towns including East Hartford, New Britain, Manchester, Willimantic, Enfield, and Hartford.

Part of my work is delivering direct and indirect nutrition education in different areas of the community, including elementary schools, senior centers, public libraries, community events, food pantries, and Foodshare mobile. I am also working with other SNAP-Ed team members to enhance the material on Healthy Family CT’s website and social media accounts, which also focuses on reaching our target audience with nutrition education. We hope that our education increases our audience’s knowledge and skills to achieve healthier diets and access local and affordable healthy food. We also hope that it improves their willingness to consume a healthier diet and increase physical activity.

I developed an interest in community nutrition during my supervised practice training this past spring semester. Nutrition education is so important in low-income communities because it helps to prevent nutrition-related health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. These health issues can create even more hardship and financial burden for this community. It has been an amazing opportunity to be a part of this effort! I encourage you to check out UConn Healthy Family CT’s website (https://healthyfamilyct.cahnr.uconn.edu/) and social media accounts with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Infant Formula Shortage

Infant Formula Shortage – y en Espanol

infant formula shortage infographicHave you or someone you know been impacted by the infant formula supply shortage?  You may be wondering how this happened and what to do about it. In February 2022, Abbott Laboratory, an infant formula company, recalled several of its formulas due to complaints about infants affected after formula consumption. In addition, there was bacteria found in part of their building that did not produce the formula.  Abbott voluntarily recalled those formulas. The formula recall plus the pandemic related food supply shortage has resulted in a nationwide shortage. There are some important steps to keep in mind so that all babies have enough and safe sources of needed formula and or breastmilk. Breastfeeding is always healthier for a baby’s nutrition and immune system, but some moms are not able to breastfeed or may not produce enough breast milk. Get advice from your doctor and nutritionist/dietitian. If you receive W.I.C. (Women, Infants and Children) Program benefits, you can talk with the program nutritionists about getting help with breastfeed techniques if you are breastfeeding or receiving formula sources that your baby needs.

     Do

     Don’t

Do choose a safe infant formula. Don’t make homemade formula.
Do follow formula directions to prepare properly and safely, Don’t give watered down formula.
Do follow your doctor and nutritionist advice for formula. Don’t give your baby cow’s milk, toddler milk or milk substitutes (unless told by your doctor).
Do find safe places to buy or get safe donations. Don’t buy formula from unknown online sites or  from outside the United States.
If you do need breastmilk, find safe breast milk banks, Don’t accept breast milk donations from unknown sources.

Remember to wash your hands before preparing formula and to store formula or breastmilk properly.    Find Infant Formula   CT WIC updates   CT Formula Temporary Substitution List

*The Federal Government has now started emergency production as well as locating formula that meets FDA standards as well as locating formula sources from oversees  that meet FDA safety standards. 

Sources: https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/abbott-voluntarily-recalls-powder-formulas-manufactured-one-plant  ; https://www.fns.usda.gov/ofs/infant-formula-safety; https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/InfantandToddlerNutrition/formula-feeding/choosing-an-infant-formula.html

Written and Compiled by

Umekia R. Taylor, MS, RDN, CDN, Heather Peracchio, MS, RDN, CDN, Sherry Gray, MPH, RD, Michael J. Puglisi, Ph.D., R.D. 

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

05/2022 


Escasez de Fórmula Infantil

infant formula shortage infographic¿Usted o alguien que conoce se ha visto afectado por la escasez de fórmula infantil? Quizás se pregunte cómo sucedió esto y qué hacer al respecto. En febrero de 2022, Abbott Laboratory, una empresa de fórmulas para bebés retiró del mercado varias de sus fórmulas debido a quejas sobre bebés afectados después de su consumo. Además, se encontraron bacterias en partes de su edificio que no produjeron la fórmula. Abbott retiró voluntariamente esas fórmulas. El retiro del mercado de la fórmula, más la escasez de alimentos relacionada con la pandemia ha resultado en una escasez a nivel nacional. Hay algunos pasos importantes a tener en cuenta para que todos los bebés tengan fuentes suficientes y seguras de fórmula o leche materna necesarias. La lactancia materna siempre será más saludable para la nutrición y el sistema inmunitario del bebé, pero algunas mamás no pueden amamantar o es posible que no produzcan suficiente leche materna. Obtenga el consejo de su médico y nutricionista/dietista. Si recibe beneficios del programa W.I.C. (Mujeres, Bebés y Niños), puede hablar con los nutricionistas del programa sobre cómo obtener ayuda con las técnicas de lactancia si está amamantando o recibiendo suministros de fórmula que necesita su bebé.

Qué Hacer

Que No Hacer

Elija una fórmula infantil segura. No haga fórmula casera.
Siga las instrucciones de la fórmula para prepararla de manera adecuada y segura. No le dé fórmula aguada a su bebé.
Siga los consejos de su médico y nutricionista para la fórmula. No le dé a su bebé leche de vaca, leche para niños pequeños o sustitutos de la leche (a menos que se lo indique su médico)
Busque lugares de confianza para comprar u obtener donaciones seguras. No compre fórmula en sitios de internet desconocidos o fuera de los Estados Unidos.
Si necesita leche materna, busque bancos de leche materna seguros. No acepte donaciones de leche materna de fuentes desconocidas.

Recuerde lavarse las manos antes de preparar la fórmula y almacenar adecuadamente la fórmula o la leche materna.  Find Infant Formula   CT WIC updates   CT Formula Temporary Substitution List

Fuentes:https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/abbott-voluntarily-recalls-powder-formulas-manufactured-one-plant  ; https://www.fns.usda.gov/ofs/infant-formula-safety; https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/InfantandToddlerNutrition/formula-feeding/choosing-an-infant-formula.html

Escrito y compilado por:

Umekia R. Taylor, MS, RDN, CDN, Heather Peracchio, MS, RDN, CDN, Sherry Gray, MPH, RD, Michael J. Puglisi, Ph.D., R.D. 

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

05/2022 

Umekia “Mickey” Taylor: Educator Spotlight

Merging Fitness and Nutrition to Create Healthy Lifestyles 

Umekia TaylorUmekia “Mickey” Taylor ’83 (CAHNR) merges fitness and nutrition to help people create healthy lifestyles. She is a community nutrition extension educator and the supervisor for Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in New Haven County. “UConn Extension’s nutrition outreach education is valuable because we meet people where they are. Then, we bring them to whatever level they want to go to,” Mickey says. “We’re here to serve the people of Connecticut and bring value to their lives.”

Growing up in Meriden, she always had an interest in food and experimented with recipes in her family’s kitchen. She wanted a health-related career that included food and education. Taylor found a brochure in her high school guidance department about the Allied Health Sciences dietetics program at UConn. She had not heard about it this career, but it intrigued her. 

Seniors in UConn’s dietetics program complete different practicums. Taylor gravitated towards the community nutrition practicum. She went on to earn her master of science degree in human performance from Southern Connecticut State University. “I wanted to incorporate fitness as a thread in my career,” she says. “Fitness is practical choices too. Parking farther away from your destination and walking makes a significant difference. Speed walking while running errands, all these small actions add up.” 

Her first role was the nutritionist with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in New Haven. Taylor is bilingual and immersed in the Spanish language as she worked with the program participants. She began her career with UConn Extension in 1993.    

“In working with EFNEP, there’s a lot of linkages we make with other fields in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources and throughout UConn,” Taylor says. “I had close relationships with the UConn 4-H program through Wanda Little, who is a retired UConn 4-H educator and was my mentor. I’ve kept that model in my programming.”  

Taylor works with collaborative teams at UConn. One of these is the People Active on Trails for Health and Sustainability (PATHS) team. The team uses trails and exercise to improve health outcomes in residents statewide. Extension educators are not islands, and she emphasizes the benefits of different expertise. 

The rewards of being an Extension educator are when participants are engaged and learning – that is when you can make an impact. Taylor and the EFNEP teamwork with people over time. They start slight changes with them that have positive impacts on their health. 

“Nutrition involves balance and variety is important,” she says. “You don’t need to go to one extreme or another. We all have cravings, and it is okay to have a treat occasionally, and then get back to healthy eating. A diet should be a well-balanced approach and fun.” 

New discoveries and recommendations challenge nutrition and health educators. All science-based educators face this same challenge. This causes mistrust or negative public perceptions. Taylor follows the research and educates her audiences as the science changes. She addresses those misconceptions because people are looking for accurate information.

Taylor’s recent focus is on social media, online education, and training community leaders. “I love the model where we work with teens and then they teach nutrition education in their communities,” she says. Taylor had a USDA-AFRI grant to build this model and is pursuing another grant for further work in the field. Other 4-H and nutrition programs replicated her project.

The past few years have also highlighted the racial inequities that still exist. Taylor participated in UConn’s Anti-Black Racism Course. She connected to the topics and concepts as an African American woman whose parents are from South Carolina. She found the course enlightening, and timely in the wake of violence, hate crimes and injustice against black and brown people. She continues engaging in topical discussions with the Extension Anti-Racism Learning Group.  

Taylor’s community nutrition and fitness programs improve the lives of Connecticut residents. Her work is representative of the land-grant mission as she engages audiences with UConn’s research and teaching. Taylor brings enthusiasm and creativity to community nutrition and established models that are enhancing the lives of residents across the nation.  

Article by Stacey Stearns 

Extension EFNEP Programming Positively Impacts Participants

Heather and a volunteer in their masksOur Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) shifted during the pandemic, just as everyone did. Last summer I had the opportunity to work with Bristol and New Britain HRA programs teaching their summer youth employment program. Their Program Director asked me to create a five-week virtual class, with 16 hours’ worth of work per week for their students. We had 20 students on each program. The program started three weeks after I received the request and I had to quickly think about how to best teach EFNEP nutrition education virtually to teenagers!
I was lucky to have a UConn student intern, Autumn Blasi, to help with the program! Although we never met in person, we worked together virtually to create a one of kind program!
I learned and used  Google classroom to create meaningful lessons for students. Each week students had to watch videos,  research, and complete project-based assignments. Students had to photograph their gardens each week to show progress. Students researched how to do different exercises and had to create beginners’ guides. Every week we had a virtual WebEx class.
Each week of the EFNEP/HRA program was theme-based on the growth of a plant. Week one was seeds and roots, week two was stems, week three was leaves, week four was flowers, week five was fruits and vegetables. Each week students had to find foods and recipes based on the week’s theme. They also had to research and report on nutrient and calorie content, selection, and storage of foods from the weeks theme.  I decided to do three “distribution” days every other week, that gave the students the tools to do hands-on, project-based learning at home.  I also divided the program into four concentration areas: gardening, nutrition, fitness, and future self with four hours of work in each. We had the students create SMART goals for each concentration area. Students had to photograph their gardens each week to show progress. Students researched how to do different exercises and had to create beginners’ guides. Every week we had four separate virtual WebEx classes with different groups of students. On distribution weeks we had a hands-on virtual class where we made recipes together.
In the beginning of the process I thought students would want connection to other students and tried to create group projects. I also thought students would want to be “seen” through the process, but they usually did not want to have their camera on. It was always their choice! It seemed that they liked the affirmation of the grading process best. They strived to do the work and wanted to make sure I SAW it. They were polite and engaged and asked for more work! They would ask for the  next weeks work if they finished the present weeks work. They started to become more confident and comfortable with the process over the last weeks. I  learned a lot during the process. I am grateful for the project!
On week one, we scheduled a safe, socially distanced distribution to students. Each student received a “EFNEP cooking kit”- with a meat thermometer, measuring cups, recipe books, and an insulated grocery bag. They also received a “container pizza garden”- students had a chance to identify each plant and plant their containers, it was like 40 – 10 minute lessons from afar! These distribution were done in the community at two different locations.
On week three we distributed the ingredients for overnight oats, and a fear factor food (spinach) to do our online recipe together. We had many technical difficulties that day and our intern stepped in to “show” the recipe because I lost video! We had the students “use your oats again,” and use your fear factor food and post the pictures. The students did an amazing job!
On week five we distributed prizes and the ingredients for our last WebEx virtual recipe, ” Salsa Pasta.” I had hoped to use the vegetables from the student’s container gardens, but the plants the agency provided were very small. I had to replace some students’ plants during the program due to critters eating them! This was my most successful video and audio! I finally figured out how to just use my office for the recipe. I made the recipe four times – two groups on Wednesday and two groups on Thursday. I also gave students other ways to make the recipe into soup and macaroni and cheese.
I heard from parents who said they benefitted from the class, in addition to their child. Especially downloading a step tracker and food diary app. They liked the SMART goals and saw improvement in some of their children’s behavior and confidence.
Our student intern, Autumn added so much to the program! She added assignments for the students on body image, diabetes, how to dress for an interview, and critiquing nutrition information on social media.
Article by Heather Pease, UConn EFNEP Educator

Ready, Set, Go! For a Healthier You!

Welcome any youth between the ages of 7 and 18 interested in challenging themselves to improve how they feel and how they feel about themselves.  Join us for the next 6 weeks in learning about ways to practice good habits, and getting rewarded for doing it.  We will be holding a weekly workshop on a variety of healthy living topics that will be followed by a week-long challenge related to that topic. Your participation will earn points towards fun prizes – the more workshops you attend and challenges you complete, the more prizes you will become eligible for. No charge to participate!! This activity is sponsored by an award from National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation.

Ready, Set, Go! For a Healthier You! – Weekly Topics

  • Let’s Get Moving – June 15th, 7 p.m. – Focus on physical fitness and making summer safety a breeze
  • What’s Cooking? – June 22nd, 7 p.m. – Summer fun in the kitchen
  • Lettuce Learn about Nutrition – June 29th, 7 p.m. – What’s on your plate?
  • Go Bag Go! – July 6th, 7 p.m. – Make a go-bag 
  • Ready to be Mindful – July 13th, 7 p.m. – Taking a closer look  
  • Hydration Station – July 20th, 7 p.m. – Getting bored with water?
  • 4-H Healthy Living Awards and Recognition Ceremony 

 Secure your place now – first workshop is next Tuesday, June 15.  Special offer to the first 50 registering – free 4-H zippered bag to be used for storing supplies in case of emergency.  Any questions, email Margaret.grillo@uconn.edu

Click Here to Register

UConn EFNEP Adult Course May 2021 Graduates!

Heather, Molly, and Juliana of our UConn Expanded Food and Nutrition Program led participants through a virtual nutrition and cooking class. 

After completion participants shared:

“Best class ever!”

“The class was great, complete information, I liked it and learned a lot about food, hygiene, and sugary drinks. The drink class was very informative! Thank you to both educators and the translator. We really appreciated the materials and utensils.”

“I looked forward to this class each week, you have been part of our home the past 5 weeks.”

“I didn’t like cooking before but I do now.  I have tried the recipes and my family enjoys them. These last 12 months have been so hard. I never thought being on the computer would bring me joy.”

“When I made the lentil burgers I thought they would taste disgusting, but I tried them and they were SO good!” 

We love the wonderful feedback. Congratulations graduates!

Click here to learn more about UConn EFNEP

people in a zoom meeting

Danbury Head Start and EFNEP Zoom Graduation

“Me encanto aprendí mucho.”

Fue de mucha ayuda y ahora lo pongo en práctica. Me ayudo mucho a comer más saludable y a gastar menos dinero comprando comida en ofertas.”

“Tratare de integrar a mis comidas todos los consejos que aprendi en esta clase ya que son muy productivos. Gracias por compartir con nosotras todos sus conocimentos de cocina.” 

“Me fijaré más en la lista de nutrición de los productos, para controlar en no exceder en los valores diarios, tratar de poner en práctica las recomendaciones de relajación para cuando tenga mucha presión en mis tareas diarias, consumir comida más sana de manera divertida para mis niños.”

Some words shared by Danbury Head Start parents after completing their EFNEP course. 

Learn more about our UConn EFNEP program at https://efnep.uconn.edu/.

people in a zoom meeting