“A lot of kids want to be healthy, but they don’t know how,” said Justin Barnes, the community engagement coordinator who works with the CalFresh program. “I try to connect it to their lives and give them the why.” That’s good education, and that’s what Barnes is all about.
Barnes works in some Calaveras County schools, bringing fitness and nutrition education to campus and tailoring the programs to grade level. It is evidence-based and state approved by the CalFresh program. “We know from studies that kids need 60 minutes of exercise per day,” said Barnes.
After jogging and stretching to warm up, students participate in varied activities such as obstacle courses, hula hooping, beanbag toss, frisbee, or capture the flag. “I want to make it as fun as possible so you don’t know you’re exercising, and use games as an incentive,” said Barnes.
Nutrition education is tailored, too. “I keep it very simple and very easy for kids. CalFresh allows us to fill in some gaps and give students steps they can actually take,” Barnes said. One example? He recently taught a lesson about sugar-sweetened beverages. Students were surprised to learn the sugar content of sodas and juice were the same, if not more. A great alternative is water sweetened with sliced strawberries, or a substitution of your favorite fruit. As the weather warms, a pitcher of cucumber water would make a cool addition to any fridge.
“Your brain needs nutrients, too,” Barnes said. If you’re reading the newspaper this morning, why not give your brain that boost?
One Mug Omelet
Oil, butter, or cooking spray for greasing
1 large egg
2 tablespoons low-fat milk or water
Salt and pepper to taste
The Enterprise suggests mixing in diced onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, cooked broccoli, fresh or frozen spinach, a little bit of your favorite cheese, some leftover veggies from last night, a tiny dash of your favorite herbs.
1. Grease the mug lightly with oil, butter or cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, add the egg and your choice of low-fat milk or water, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Using a fork, beat the mixture well.
4. Mix in your choice of additions.
5. Pour the mixture into the mug.
6. Microwave for one minute. Check that the egg is fully cooked and not wet. If it’s still wet, microwave for an additional 30-60 seconds.
7. Enjoy your breakfast straight out of the mug, or on a plate. It only took you five minutes to fuel your brain for the morning! Serves one smart person.
Be sure to carefully read the labels on the yogurt, granola, and cereal you buy. Many have a lot of added sugar. The lessons Justin Barnes teaches students at the schools he serves — sodas and juices can have the same sugar content — apply here, too. Reading labels is an important skill.
This recipe serves four.
2 cups fresh fruit or frozen fruit (at least two different kinds)
2 cups unsweetened yogurt
2 tablespoons 100% fruit spread or honey
1 cup low-sugar granola or low-sugar dry cereal
1. Wash and cut fruit into small pieces.
2. In a bowl, mix the yogurt and fruit spread or honey together.
3. In each of the four containers of your choosing, layer as follows: ¼ cup fruit, ¼ cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons granola. Repeat.
A great tip: Do all the steps except adding the granola the night before, then sprinkle it on in the morning for a quick breakfast. Genius!