Summer brings fun learning opportunities at the Carroll Avenue/Quebec Terrace (CAQT) community center where minds don’t turn off just because school is out. Parents and children are learning new ways to transform their routines and create new healthy habits thanks to a YFS partnership with the University of Maryland Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program.
Incorporating physical activity, hands on learning and discussions about important health issues, the Cultivating Healthy Habits program combines activities appealing for both parents and children. Outreach Specialist for the Y, Belen Bryant, says parents are eager to learn better ways of eating and feeding young children, “ When parents learn along with their children, they can both see where change needs to be made and commit together to doing things differently. “ Eating healthier snacks is a first step for families to get on the road to more nutritious eating habits. Parents and children learn to read labels together and investigate the true amounts of sugar, fat and salt that are in common packaged snacks. Learning how to determine whether a snack should be part of a regular diet or a once a year splurge is an important skill; good food choices may ward off debilitating disease and obesity.
Experimenting with healthy ingredients and recipes are encouraged in the class. The community center in a great environment to get kids to try new foods along with their peers, kids sometimes make bolder choices that would only end up as arguments were they at home with family. At the CAQT center, Bryant had no problem getting the children to help prepare, and drink smoothies made with kale and carrots.
A beautiful garden was created by the class outside the CAQT center featuring mint, basil, thyme, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant and everyone learned about simple plants and vegetables they could grow at home.


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