This would be the fifth year for the successful program in which Grace Moyano, nutrition educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension, taught parents the skills they need to achieve the goal of healthy eating every day.
With the rising epidemic of obesity in the U.S., it is more important than ever for parents to make informed food choices that will provide a balanced healthful diet for their families, Moyano said. She discussed the need to decrease portion sizes and demonstrated appropriate portions sizes as well.
She noted that there has been an increase in the size of portions of food for Americans, and along with increases in amounts of food consumed, there has been a concomitant rise in obesity in the population noted over the past 20 years.
The “Eat Smart New York” program taught at the Daly School met for seven weekly evening sessions for one-and-a-half hours each session. Moyano taught the classes in Spanish and English.
The program included lessons about healthy eating behaviors, choosing whole grains, low-fat dairy and protein foods, recommendations, and the importance of drinking water and avoiding sugary juice and soda beverages. Some other lessons included topics such as daily meal planning, savvy grocery shopping, safe food handling practices, deciphering food labels, the importance of family dinners and the value of daily exercise.
One of the instructional techniques included in Moyano’s teaching portfolio is the demonstration of “My Plate.” This is a program developed by the federal government which features a circular plate illustrating vegetables and fruit on half the plate, with the remaining half of the plate divided into portions for whole grains and low-fat protein foods.
At the completion of the seven week course, parents received certificates of achievement. Parents seemed happy about what they had learned and many stated that they had increased their intake of fruits and vegetables. They were also drinking more water, and more low-fat milk, and instituting these practices in their homes with their children. They were all exercising more every day as well.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County is the sponsor of the “Eat Smart New York” nutrition program taught at the Daly School. Its mission is to educate and assist low income families about healthy nutrition, and how to prepare balanced meals for their families.