Group Connection: Cooking Matters at the Store

Stephanie Storer of the Lowcountry Food Bank shared her enthusiasm for nutrition, skilled shopping strategies, and more with our parents.

On Wednesday afternoon, we were excited to have Stephanie Storer from the Lowcountry Food Bank join us for a group connection called “Cooking Matters at the Store”. She started by reviewing ChooseMyPlate.gov, an important resource regarding the five food groups and what servings we should aim to have each day. This site, hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, allows for more in-depth exploration of the five food groups, dietary guidelines, and various resources.

Stephanie also shared some key skills about shopping at the grocery store, starting with reading food labels. Food labels tell the story of how we’re fueling our bodies. She gave us several key tips to keep in mind. First, the ingredient list will list ingredients in order from most used to least used. So if sugar is at the top of the list, then the food contains more sugar compared to other ingredients. Second, it helps to look out for the Daily Percent Value, which shows how much of a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a total daily diet. It can help you determine if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient.

We learned about proteins, dairy, and various options for selecting produce. A few tips and tricks were also mixed in, including that there’s usually one day a week when meat prices drop. This is typically the last day that the butcher can have the meat on the shelf, which means a lot of half price or buy one/get one free deals.

Finally, we practiced comparing Unit Prices to get the best value for our money. The Unit Price helps you compare two of the same food items in different sizes (i.e. how much it costs per ounce, pound, etc). For instance, if we have a soup that costs $2.40 for 12 ounces, we divide $2.40 by 12 to get the unit price of $.20 per ounce. That way, we can compare the unit price to a different size, such as $6.00 for 24 ounces (or a unit price of $.25 per ounce). After doing the math (or looking at the Unit Prices directly on the shelf), we’ll see that the 12 ounce soup is actually a better overall deal.

At the end of the group meeting, we were more knowledgeable about the different food groups, shopping tips & tricks, ways to evaluate food labels, and ways to effectively comparison shop. We’re excited to take this knowledge DIRECTLY to the grocery store moving forward!

Parent Group Connection: 2021 Vision Boards

On Wednesday, Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services (BJHCHS) and Beaufort County First Steps hosted a Parent Group Connection focused on creating Vision Boards.

Barbara Ramos and Aujena Mungin from BHJCHS led this initiative with our Parents As Teachers families. Vision Boards are defined as a “collage of images and words to display in a prominent place to remind you why you do what you do every day.” They can be a reminder of values, goals, and dreams. Or they may simply include things that inspire you or leave you feeling happy.

Our parents quickly got to work, creatively organizing various magazine clippings, stickers, and more. Some of the themes and goals included bettering relationships with children/significant other, cultivating gratitude, starting a new business, staying positive, “real sleep”, exercising, and much more. By looking at these boards each morning and night, the hope is each of us will be that much closer to reaching our goals. The leaders also emphasized an important reminder to rely on our resources and reach out when help is needed!

Julian Gooding shares “One Book, Many Lessons” during Parent Group Connection

During Wednesday’s Parent Group Connection, we were honored to have Julian Gooding join us.  Mr. Gooding is an award-winning producer, director, writer, and media artist. He has dedicated his career to providing outside the box concepts for ending illiteracy in rural and low income communities. On Wednesday, he presented on the topic “One Book, Many Lessons.”

Mr. Gooding began by sharing how his elementary school teacher had him re-read the same book over and over: “Harry the Dirty Dog”. It became an exercise that helped build confidence, overcome shyness, and spark a love for reading early on. He went on to discuss the many ways to delve into the same book using the children’s book “Stepping Stones” as an example. In working with children, he highlighted the artist of the book, created science activities involving different types of rocks, and even ultimately had children make their own stepping stones. With each activity, the children learned new and engaging material related to the book. As Mr. Gooding said,  “The layers of literacy are happening through creative play.”

Mr. Gooding also shared a number of creative ideas for engaging children with literacy — from art projects to “coffee can theatre” to embracing non-fiction and graphic novels.  He also discussed the many great opportunities in everyday life to focus on literacy, including things like reading a menu at a restaurant, street signs, and more. And finally, Mr. Gooding reminded us,  “Learning in literacy can happen at any moment!”