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1. Adding nutrition education into the school day
In the cafeteria
- educational materials on the walls
- variety of healthy choices for snacks, entrees, and drinks
- draw attention to the healthy food options
- taste testing of healthy foods in creative and fun ways
- minimizing availability/accessibility of non-nutritious, competitive foods
- maximizing use of breakfast and lunch programs
In the classroom
- longitudinal curriculum on nutrition
- class projects to reinforce the curriculum (art projects, recipe building, cooking together)
In the gym/recess
- school gardens
- to local farmers markets, food bank, community gardens
- individual, class, and school recognition for meeting goals
- health fairs – can combine with school festival (encourage healthy snacks or non-food prizes)
2. Adding nutrition education after school
- maintaining school garden
- After school cooking classes, cooking demonstrations, and nutritional education programs
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1. Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston
- Open after school and during summers to keep at-risk kids safe and in positive environments with good role models.
- Programs focus on healthy lifestyles (nutrition, safety skills, physical fitness activities, intramural leagues, etc) in addition to academic success and good character and citizenship.
2. Brighter Bites
- Non-profit initiative bringing fresh produce to families while also providing nutrition education. Currently working with various Houston area schools and community centers.
- The project introduces families to fresh produce (each family is given 50 servings of fruits and vegetables in a recyclable bag each week) with combined nutritional education over a 16-week program.
- Contact Emily Kelly [email protected] for information on how to become a Brighter Bites School.
3. CAN DO Houston (Children and Neighbors Defeat Obesity)
- CANDOHouston serves as a coordinating center to promote and support grassroots initiatives. They empower individuals from neighborhoods at greater risk for childhood obesity to advocate for changes in healthy eating and active living in their communities. Their vast partnerships help fill the gap between existing resources and neighborhoods in need.
- Serves the following communities: Fifth Ward, Independence Heights, Magnolia Park, Near Northside and Sunnyside.
- Their programs include:
- Community and School Gardens – program for planting vegetable gardens in various Houston schools and communities as well as a junior master gardener program.
- Health in Action – a 6 to 9 week program with weekly sessions that focus on the prevention of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. Each session is comprised of health education, art projects, physical activity, and a healthy snack.
- Healthy Corner Store – coordinating healthy fresh food delivery to local corner stores. Items can be purchased with food stamps in neighborhoods classified as food deserts.
- Healthy Lifestyle Program – a 6-week nutrition program that includes building a healthy meal, recipe makeovers, cooking classes, and a physical activity component.
- Leadership and Advocacy Program – aimed towards those who have completed the Healthy Lifestyles program, this 8-week course gives participants the leadership tools and techniques to advocate for change in their community environment.
- Mobile Produce Unit – their goal is to improve access to healthy options by bringing local vendors into community spaces (near schools with which they are involved) and providing produce at reduced prices.
4. Chose Healthy Eat Fresh (CHEF)
- Student organization at Baylor College of Medicine which provides free cooking classes.
- They provide hands-on cooking classes that make meals in small groups relating to a nutrition-related topic including “Holiday Eating Choices,” “Smart Back-to-School Snacks,” and “Breakfast for Dinner.”
- Classes come prepared with mini-lectures, quizzes, handouts, and recipes.
- Contact: Natalie Uy at [email protected]
5. Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH)
- Texas Education Agency (TEA) approved coordinated school health program which is based on the CDC Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model as it relates to physical activity and diet. The model includes ten components that work interactively to educate young people about and provide community support for a healthful lifestyle.
- CATCH is continually updated by researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health and has proven effective in promoting healthy behaviors and preventing childhood obesity.
- CATCH is used in 10,000 K-8 schools, pre-K and after-school educational settings including approximately 50% of elementary and middle schools in Texas. The CATCH team helps guide schools through implementation, providing materials, training, evaluation and sustainability plans.
- For more information about CATCH’s evidence base, success in diverse communities, and details on how to get started, please email [email protected].
6. HISD Food Services
- Nutrition Services works hand-in-hand with advocates of good nutrition. The HISD nutrition staff are a valuable resource and nutrition education provider for schools and the community. All nutrition education programs are available at no cost.
- Health Fairs
- Nutrition Services representatives can provide nutritional materials, interactive displays, and help answer questions throughout the event.
- The health fair coordinator at each campus can coordinate Nutrition Services’ participation with your schools operations manager and/or our nutrition team.
- Call 713-491-5731 for more information.
- Classroom & Community Presentations
- The Nutrition Services team of Dietitians are available to conduct nutrition education presentations and implement nutrition-related programs at your school and/or community events.
- Student classes and curriculum resources can be provided for all grade levels and on a variety of nutrition topics. In addition, staff, parent, and public presentations are available upon request to provide nutrition education for adult groups within the school and surrounding community.
- Call 713-491-5731 for more information.
- Mobile Dairy Classroom
- This is another great educational opportunity available to HISD students which gives them the chance to meet a dairy farmer and his milking cow right at their school. The dairy farmer details the milking process and discusses the importance of consuming dairy foods for overall health.
- You can request the program by going directly to http://new.southwestdairyfarmers.com/schedule.
- Contains information about the nutritional quality of school meals, department activities, menus, nutrition blog, recipes, special dietary accommodations as well as applications for free and reduced price meals and meal account payments.
- Menu App for Mobile Devices and Menu Website.
- The NutriSlice app provides daily menus, nutritional information about menu items, meal payments, carbohydrate and allergen information.
- Available from the Google Play or the App Store – search NutriSlice or visit http://www.houstonisd.nutrislice.com for the website version.
7. Houston Food Bank
- Nutrition Classes
- Free nutrition education classes with cooking demonstrations.
- Classes are held during or after school and may be a single session or five part series (“An Apple A Day”) which can be catered to any grade level.
- Parents can attend and classes are available in English and Spanish.
- Contact: Stephanie Berno at [email protected]
- Backpack Buddies
- For children who qualify for free/reduced lunch and may have little or no meals at home over the weekend
- On Fridays children can take home child-friendly, non-perishable, easily consumed and vitamin fortified food along with kid-friendly nutrition education items.
- The food is given discretely in backpacks to avoid unwanted attention.
- Contact: Lauren Horton at [email protected]
- Kids Café
- Houston’s Kids Café is a collaboration of area chefs, dietitians, students, and volunteers that provide nutritious meals in safe surroundings, food safety and nutrition education, and hands-on instruction to help create healthy lifestyles.
- Membership in an after school program is required to participate in Kids Cafe (eg., Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston or YMCA).
- Contact: Nicole Lander at [email protected]
8. Recipe for Success Foundation
- Founded in 2005 with the goal of combating childhood obesity by changing the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food and by helping the community provide healthier diets for kids.
- Seed-to-Plate (S2P) Nutrition Education™
- A comprehensive, grade-specific, award-winning, experiential learning program that makes healthy food fun with hands-on classes in the garden and culinary classroom.
- Programs can be implemented during school, after school, as a summer camp, and in non-school based settings such as YMCAs, community centers, etc.
- Also includes Worksite Wellness programs that can be tailored to meet the needs of any corporate partner as well as Parent Programs that can stand alone or complement ongoing student programs.
- Two major program options for Houstonians:
- 1. Licensed Affiliate Partners – Licensed Recipe for Success Affiliate Partners implement Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education programs using their own staff with materials and support from the Recipe for Success Foundation Home Team. (This option is available both locally and nationally)
- 2. Contract Services – Recipe for Success will deliver the entire S2P Nutrition Education repertoire of classes during or after school for any grade or combinations of grades PreK – 5th. Prices vary and supplemental grants are available to schools with disadvantaged populations.
- Other resources:
- VegOut 30 ways in 30 days challenge
- Available nation-wide, this program challenges people to eat 30 different veggies in 30 days.
- Individuals and teams can participate over any 30-day period throughout the year, but participating in the annual event every March gives teams the chance to win special prizes.
- Registered individuals and groups have access to resources and support via the website.
- Farmers MarKIDS
- This national program is a free, kid-tested toolkit with five lesson plans that allow facilitators to help children develop financial savvy, entrepreneurial skills and business experience while they make fresh produce easily accessible to their neighbors.
- Turn a school or community garden into a farmers market with generated proceeds aimed at keeping up with gardening expenses (self-sustaining).
- Hope Farms™
- Urban agriculture project located on three acres in Houston’s historic Sunnyside.
- The Recipe for Success Foundation will grow and distribute affordable, fresh produce to the neighborhood, train homeless U.S. Veterans as new urban farmers, provide jobs for area youth and give cooking and gardening classes to children and families.
- VegOut 30 ways in 30 days challenge
9. Summer Food Program with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department
- Free summer meals are available for youth ages 1-18 at participating locations.
- The Request to Participate Form is available online to become a Summer Food Service Site.
10. Teach Healthier App from It’s Time Texas
- This is a free app for use on a smart phone or tablet allows educators to easily incorporate health, fitness and nutrition lessons into daily learning for all grade levels.
- Developed with funding from SNAP-Ed and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas in conjunction with The University of Texas School of Public Health – Austin Regional Campus.
- It provides more than 200 easy-to-follow lessons and activities with integrated timers, diagrams, nutrition facts and more.
11. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Harris County
- Educational outreach component of Texas A&M University offering educational programs during and after school in nutrition, health and wellness for youth and adult audiences. Many of the youth programs raise awareness of 4-H and local efforts.
- Each Texas County has its own office and information about programs and events that provide agriculture and nutrition awareness— most programs are meant to be implemented by teachers, however Extension staffs are available to implement programs.
- Examples of lessons/programs:
- Consumer Sciences – learning how to be a smart consumer aimed at 3rd – 5th graders
- Balance Food and Play – Lessons aimed at teaching 3rd-5th graders the importance of a healthy diet and exercise
- Nutrition educational series and food demonstrations for students and parents
- Better Living for Texans Project (Adult)
- Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (Youth and Adults)
- Junior Master Gardener Series/School Gardens – Participants in the program learn to grow vegetables from seed to harvest in one semester. The program is great for school age children and can be used in classrooms, afterschool programs and homeschools or with other groups and clubs. Most materials needed for the project are donated by the Harris County Master Gardener Association.
- Hatching in the Classroom – Incubating and hatching chicken eggs is a hands-on learning experience to use with students from K-12th grade. Classroom experiments with chicken embryos can help teach complex systems such as nutrition and the circulatory system, or more basic skills such as data measurement, collection, and analysis. These projects help students learn biological concepts and develop a deeper understanding of the life sciences. Examining embryos at different stages of growth, and observing a beating heart are just two of the projects to use.
- For more information contact: Dr. Allen Malone at [email protected] or Sonja Davis at [email protected]
12. Urban Harvest
- A nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening communities through gardening education. They offer a variety of organic-based gardening classes to educate community gardeners, teachers and the backyard gardener how to grow fruits and vegetables using organic methods.
- Three main programs:
- 1. Community Gardens
- 2. Farmers Markets
- 3. Gardening and Youth Education
- Garden and nutrition classes for Houston-area schools
- Some funded by after school grants, others supported by parent groups, community groups or local businesses.
- Curriculum resources, recipes and other printable materials/activities available on the website.
- Contact: Irene Nava, [email protected].
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- Part of Michelle Obama’s wellness campaign and the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion (CNPP)
- Provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets.
- Includes resources and tools for dietary assessment and nutrition education on food groups, weight management, calorie intake, and portion sizes.
- Includes age-specific health and nutrition information including daily food plans, growth, and development of healthy eating habits.
- Provides printable materials for tracking foods, calories, BMI, and portions.
2. Eat Well and Keep Moving
- Curriculum designed by the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Six interlinked components— classroom education, physical education, school-wide promotional campaigns, food service, staff wellness, and parent and community involvement.
- Curriculum for teaching nutrition and physical activity to:
- 4th and 5th grade students—http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/prc/projects/eat-well-keep-moving/
- 6th to 8th grade students— http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/prc/projects/planet/
3. The Great Body Shop
- Texas Education Agency (TEA) approved coordinated school health program that provides a coordinated school health model aligned with national and state standards for grades PreK-8.
- Comprehensive health education curriculum with 8 basic components:
- 1. Health education
- 2. Physical Education
- 3. Health Services
- 4. Nutrition Services
- 5. Counseling, Psychological and Social Services
- 6. Healthy School Environment
- 7. Health Promotion for Staff
- 8. Family/Community Involvement
- Kits include curriculum materials and implementation guides for teachers, staff and administrators. Training programs are also available for teachers and staff to attend. Materials are available in English and Spanish for teachers, students and parents.
4. Healthy School Program from Alliance for a Healthier Generation
- An evidence-based initiative that helps schools create and sustain healthy environments where students can learn better and flourish.
- Enrolled schools can use the CDC’s School Health Index, a self-assessment and planning guide to identify strengths and weaknesses and develop an action plan.
- Also includes a searchable resource database with videos, printables, websites and curricula to help make healthy changes for students and staff.
- Smart snacks product calculator helps determine if foods you are offering meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School Guidelines. (https://www.healthiergeneration.org/productcalculator)
- The websites features many individual school stories and how they developed successful programs.
5. Mollen Foundation
- Provides school based programs through partnerships with district and local school sites.
- Programs are free of charge for school age children and emphasize healthy living skills through nutrition education and physical activity.
- Instruction is facilitated by certified teachers and community experts through engaging interactive technology and hands on experiments and projects. They also offer community based initiatives and community garden programs.
6. National Farm to School Network
- An information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and preschools.
- Searchable resource database with information on a wide variety of topics including procurement of local foods, networking, recipes, curriculum materials and more.
- Also has sections with a guide on how schools can get started, policy issues and state resources.
- Texas Farm to School website— http://www.squaremeals.org/FandNResources/FarmtoSchool.aspx
- Provides school breakfast and lunch menus with detailed food descriptions, photographs, nutritional information and allergen information.
- Once schools have enrolled, the menu information is easily accessible via the web to view or print, and on their smart phone app.
- HISD is already using this tool to give students and parents information about school meals.
- Contact 866-524-3444 or visit http://www.nutrislice.com for more information on how to enroll your school with Nutrislice.
8. Rudd Roots Parents
- From the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
- Offers parent advocates easy-to-use tools and relevant research to help craft a compelling and well-founded argument for change in schools and communities.
- Guides parents through a step-by-step process to develop a strategic plan that is rooted in scientific evidence with a focus on school food, food marketing in schools, and weight bias and bullying.
9. Smarter Lunchrooms
- Started at Cornell University but works with schools around the country to provide various ideas and tools for making healthy lunch choices more appealing to children.
- Includes resources such as a lunchroom self-assessment and access to monthly webinars, online workshops for lunchroom staff, published articles, and regional meetings.
- Create a “MyPlan” for your school and receive support in brainstorming solutions for challenges specific to your school.
- Texas Education Agency (TEA) approved coordinated school health program that is dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating programs that promote lifelong wellness.
- SPARK provides evidence-based Coordinated School Health programs to teachers and recreation leaders for PreK-12th grade. Programs include physical education, Classroom Activities and Recess, Early Childhood and After school.
- SPARK packages include assistance with project coordination, curriculum materials, onsite teacher training, assessment/evaluation materials and follow up support.
- Free online resources include some sample lesson plans, webinars, and a grant finding tool to help schools obtain funding resources.
- Contact the Texas Program Representative for details on how to start a program— Nicole Roberts, [email protected], 512-673-0511.
11. Team Nutrition and the USDA Healthier US School Challenge
- A recognition program for Excellence in Nutrition and Physical Activity— bronze, silver and gold level distinctions awarded.
- Provides promotional materials for awardees, presentations, menu buying guides, healthier meal factsheets and free curriculum materials.
12. USDA’s Farm to School Program
- Encouraging schools and districts to source more foods locally and to provide complementary educational activities to students that emphasize food, farming, and nutrition.
- Includes a resource called Guide: Procuring Local Foods for Child Nutrition Programs, which covers procurement basics, defining local, where to find local products, and the variety of ways schools can purchase locally in accordance with regulations.
- Also webinars and videos highlighting ways school districts can purchase local foods, Farm to School Grant information and regional contacts also available.