Savannah Valley District

Beaufort County EFNEP (Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program)

Patti H. Chapman, Nutrition Educator – Clemson University

Over 140 students recently completed the “Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness” (CHFFF) program.  These eight groups of third graders learned how to choose healthy snacks, read nutrition facts labels, develop healthy eating habits, increase physical activity, practice safe food handling, and prepare healthy dishes.

One of the challenges that we discussed with this group was that some children felt they were not given the option to choose their own foods.  They must eat what is provided to them by their caregivers.  If their parents say, “McDonalds is what we’re having for dinner,” then that’s what’s for dinner!  During our “Healthier Foods – Fast” lesson, students compared nutritional information of several food items at different fast-food restaurants. They were able to see that even on those busy days when a family member has no time to make a healthy dinner, they can still choose healthier options while eating out:  choosing a salad or apple slices instead of French fries; getting a grilled chicken sandwich instead of hamburger; asking for water or low-fat milk instead of soda, etc. 

Children felt more empowered knowing that even if they aren’t eating at the healthiest restaurants, they still have the control to make better choices.  Several students admitted that they were not even aware that you could order anything but French fries to go with your fast-food meals.  This group did an amazing job coming up with ideas for making small changes that lead to big future impacts.  Many students put pressure on their parents to make more healthy meals at home.

The principal of this school shared that parents were posting on the school’s social media page about the EFNEP program.  They posted pictures showing the meals that their families had prepared together using the recipes the students were given during our classes.  It’s exciting to know that not only are the children learning, but they’re sharing what they’ve learned to positively impact the health of their entire family. 

Pictured here is the making of the “Broccoli Black Bean Quesadilla” recipe.  During preparation, students categorized where each ingredient fit into “My Plate.”  (black beans = protein group, whole wheat tortilla = grain group, broccoli = vegetable group, etc.)

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.