Fathers Hand- Nutrition Education for Male Mentors and Boys

Basil Boys!

A visual for the guys to pass around to touch, feel, and smell fresh basil!

A visual for the guys to pass around to touch, feel, and smell fresh basil!

WVU’s Human Nutrition and Foods department spearheaded a lesson within the existing program, “Fathers Hand” at the Shack Neighborhood House. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Shack Neighborhood House, commonly known as the Shack, it is a non-profit community center for the surrounding communities of Morgantown, WV. The Shack runs programs for children, adolescents, teens, and families all year long. Throughout the school year, most programming is run after school and in the evening. In the summer time, programs are run throughout the day, as well as in the evening.

Fathers Hand is an evening program that is designed for male adult mentors and male children. Normally, Fathers Hand every 1st, 2nd, and 4th Thursday of the month from 6pm-8pm. Since April is “Child and Family Awareness Month”, the Shack thought it would be nice to have Fathers Hand every Thursday this month, instead. Fathers Hand is an open program to increase male bonding and expose these men and young men, to anything and everything new that they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience without the help from the Shack.

Well, tonight marked our second lesson and had an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, incorporating the use of container gardens. I developed the lesson plans for the 3 weeks of content for the program, as well as creating handouts, recipes, instructions for activities, and purchased the groceries. Within the lesson, a dinner/meal is included so, we try to always make something for the participants that’s easy to make AND healthy as well. WVU Student Dietetic Association (SDA) volunteers to help cook the meals each lesson. This way, participants are encouraged to try to make these meals outside of the Shack, within their home environment.

Tonight, the lesson consisted of information about how many servings of fruits and vegetables that everyone should be eating. The participants learned the concept of “5-A-Day”, which refers to eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. The theme of tonight’s lesson was BASIL! The activity was making container basil gardens out of plastic cups. This will serve as a “starter” garden for all the guys, adults included. Both recipes that the participants were served, contained basil and were made with healthy ingredients, which the participants received recipe handouts on as well.

The participants were educated on the MyPlate, using a poster, and focusing on fruits and vegetables. The lesson focused on fruit and vegetable identification, so fresh basil was passed around as a visual for everyone to touch, feel, and smell. The incorporation of fruits and vegetables that were unfamiliar like heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, avocados, and mangoes was another visual for the participants. The lesson was geared towards green leafy vegetables but, also incorporated “new” and unfamiliar produce which we aim to accomplish overall to teach everyone food identification skills that they could use all year long! 

Shack Neighborhood House

The beginning of the basil, tomato, and zucchini casserole!

The beginning of the basil, tomato, and zucchini casserole!

basil garden1

basil garden

A variety of heirloom tomatoes to show the participants that veggies come in different colors, you wouldn't think of!

A variety of heirloom tomatoes to show the participants that veggies come in different colors, you wouldn’t think of!

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heirloom_red

heirloom_lgreenheirloom_yellow

heirloom_green

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Our Healthy Roadtrip Has Begun!

Roadtrippin’ With My Favorite Friends

Yesterday, Monday March 4th, was the launch of this semester’s Shack Neighborhood House nutrition education programming. Every semester and summer, the WVU Didactic Program in Dietetics implements a nutrition education program at the Shack Neighborhood House. The Shack is no stranger to this group of future Dietitians. The two organizations have been collaborating for years now. Over the summer we ran “Carrot Sticks”- a nutrition education program focusing on food culture, smoothies, and fruits/vegetables. In the fall, we ran a program called “Racing the Rainbow”- a nutrition education program that focused on different colors of the rainbow correlating to the different food groups.

All of our programs have a target population of youth, usually between the ages of K-5, or more specifically K-2. I’ve somewhat mastered a system as to how we organize each lesson plan within the programs.

Part 1- Nutrition education

–        MyPlate

–        Focus on a specific type of food (Example- berries, potatoes, avocados, etc.)

–        Focus on the specific benefits of our targeted food of discussion

Part 2- Snack incorporating the food(s) we’ve discussed

–        We make sure that the snack is interactive and they are required to make/build/construct it in an artistic nature

Part 3- Activity

–        We usually find crafts related to our lesson topic

–        I try to make sure that we find activities that the students can cognitively grasp, but also enjoy and learn from as well.

This week, we focused on the region of Oregon. And we discussed the benefits of potatoes but, focused more on the health benefits of berries. The undergraduates used a MyPlate visual as an aid to guide the students in questions, regarding different food groups.

Each week, I will put stickers on the region that we “drove” to on our healthy roadtrip across America.

“Our Healthy Roadtrip” will continue for 5 additional lessons (excluding March 25th because of WVU’s Spring Recess).  I took the liberty at creating a poster of the map of the U.S. to document all the different regions of the country, which the program will touch base on.

Only time will tell, if the Shack’s students start to really get into “Our Healthy Roadtrip” theme this Spring!

Shack Neighborhood House

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The location of our new nutrition education curriculum!

The location of “Our Healthy Roadtrip” program!

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