MAKING A DIFFERENCE NEWSLETTER - Issue 2, Volume 17 (Apr 2017) Issue 2, Volume 17 (Apr 2017) - Page 11

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - Harris County, Texas Children Hospital, City of Houston Dental Program, Can Do, Houston Food Bank, Houston Public Library, and other local agencies partnered to implement the Houston Independent School District’s PEAS in a Pod Project. The purpose of the Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program’s, PEAS in a Pod (Partnering for Early Access for Success) is to improve the overall health, fitness, and nutrition of students at three Houston Independent School District early childhood centers (Fonwood, Gabriel Mistral and Ninfa Laurenzo). This is a 5 year federal grant project funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services beginning March 2016 - February 2021, with renewal dependent upon success and funding availability.

AgriLife’s role in the partnership is to conduct EFNEP’s (Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program) 7 week nutrition education series. The series addresses healthy eating, family meal planning, food shopping basics, food safety, basic food preparation, and the importance of including physical activities in daily life. Each hour session also includes a food demonstration and physical activity.

Once the 7 week series is completed, Dinner Tonight Healthy Cooking Schools are conducted. The schools bring parents together in a fun and engaging environment to learn the importance of family mealtime and how parenting style impacts a child’s eating behavior. Participants are provided with resource material, cookbooks and food samples.

Agents Sonja Davis, Elizabeth Trejo, and Tonya McKenzie conducted two Dinner Tonight Healthy Cooking Schools with parents and youth at Gabriel Mistral and Ninfa Laurenzo.

A total of 115 participants attended in the Dinner Tonight Healthy Cooking School. Parents were encouraged to include their children in the meal planning, preparation, and clean up. Suggestions were made to rotate menu selection throughout the family, allow children to assist by reading recipes to build literacy, and measuring ingredients to build math skills. The presentations discussed the family mealtime environment and provided tips for planning ahead to make family mealtime less stressful.

peas in a pod dinner tonight healthy cooking school