WIC Internship Rotation

These past two weeks I spent the majority of my time in the Monongalia and Marion County WIC offices.  With this rotation I was able to learn all about what WIC has to offer!  WIC represents the Women, Infants and Children Program, which is a federally funded nutrition education and supplemental food program.  This is an excellent opportunity for families that qualify to receive nutrition education, breastfeeding support/education, and assistance with food and other resources.  They are even working with the WIC-ICE program to offer free immunizations for children 0-5 years old!


While at WIC I realized that the number of women choosing to feed their baby using formula outnumbered the number of women breastfeeding tremendously! Out of curiosity I ended up looking up the breastfeeding rates for the states of West Virginia and Colorado as well as the national rates.

Data from CDC’s Breastfeeding Report Card, 2013

Breastfeeding Rates

View entire report here!

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/2013breastfeedingreportcard.pdf

Curious to know which state had the highest and lowest rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months? I was!  I found that the highest rate of exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months came from Idaho with 60.3% and the lowest came from Mississippi with only 17%.  When looking at the those exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months, the highest came from California with 27.4% and the lowest was Tennessee with only 4.1%.  As you can see there are very large discrepancies when comparing each state!

Why is it important to breastfeed vs. formula feedings?

Here are a few of the many wonderful benefits:

  • Reduce the risk of diseases in the infant such as:
    • Necrotizing enterocolitis
    • Lower respiratory infections
    • Asthma
    • Obesity
    • Type 2 Diabetes
    • SIDS
  • Protects the baby from illnesses so they get sick less often
  • Provides benefits to the mother and helps the body return back to ‘normal’ by:
    • Burning extra calories to promoting weight loss
    • Causing the uterus to contract to prevent bleeding
  • It is safe! No need to worry about:
    • Mixing the formula
    • Safety of the water
    • Selecting the right formula
    • Formula safety recalls
  • The cost savings!

One interesting thing I learned at WIC was the cost of formula! Did you know that the average cost of formula for the first year was $1,500 dollars just for basic formula!  This number would sky rocket if an infant required a special formula (very common since formula is harder to digest than breast milk)!  This number also does not include the cost of bottle and supplies!

So, why do so many women chose not to breast feed when it is the best nutrition and supplies of a wealth of benefits for the baby and the mother that will last a lifetime – and not to mention the cost savings?

Source: http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/why-breastfeeding-is-important/index.html


iCook Session #1

After months of planning, recruiting, and conducting assessments it finally came time to teach session one! We ended up filling about five of our six classes with at least four parent/child groups (also referred to as dyads). Currently, there are three interns who will be teaching the first four sessions and then the other two interns will teach the last two. Remi, Erin, and I alternated teaching the lessons by serving as either Chef, Sous Chef, or an extra helper. We were also lucky enough to have the assistance of three undergraduate students who assisted with note taking, technology, set-up, and cleaning all the dishes.

This first session was entitled “Tools of the Trade.” We covered knife safety skills, physical activity, camera/website use, and an introduction to iCook. The classes had anywhere from four to eight dyads present. This was a great learning experience for the children, parents, and even us! The kids knife skills improved greatly just from the beginning of the class to the end and the parents’ confidence in their kids abilities also greatly improved. While allowing kids (age 8-11) to use a sharp chef knife may seem like an unsafe thing to do, with the right support and monitoring from the parents the kids can accomplish cutting bananas, strawberries, apples, and even kiwi safely! We made it through the entire weekend without any cuts! You can tell which kids had prior experience and which had never even held a knife before. It was fun to work with these kids and I can’t wait to watch their skills improve over the next few months as we move through the sessions!


iCook Recruitment CONTINUES!

If there is one thing I have learned these past few weeks it is that recruiting human subjects for any research projects is HARD! No matter how excited the kids are about joining that doesn’t mean that their parents are going to pick up the phone and enroll. We have had to extend the recruitment process for this study and continue to recruit an extra week or two to hopefully meet our target! We are currently about 1/3 of the way there… with only 1 week left IT IS CRUNCH TIME!

We hit the schools yet again and decided to sing a song that Erin Smith and her dad wrote! Here is the video of us with an entire lunch room of 5th graders singing the tune after we have described the iCook study!


It has been fun speaking with thousands of 4th and 5th graders but at this point… I am just ready for us to reach our goal and start the actual instruction component of this research study! Below are some silly pictures of Erin and I as we toured the schools!

iCook 4-H Nutrition Education!

This past week of my rotation I primarily spent time focusing on preparing with the team for the iCook lessons. We focused on learning the material, preparing the recipes, and practicing delivering the lesson to children! When teaching children is important to remember who your audience is and know how to keep them engaged. By practicing these lesson we solidified the materials we will need and test all of our equipment. These lesson will start the first weekend of August and continue through November for a total of 6 lessons. This is awesome program that targets children between the ages of 9-10 that emphasizes family meal time, physical activity and nutrition/cooking. Below are just a few snap shots of the team and pictures of the mock lessons!

To learn more about iCook please refer to my previous post found here.

Next week will be our final week of recruitment so stay tuned for more pictures and information about iCook!

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Personal Improvement Project

This past month I have rotating under the supervision of the director of our program with the main focus being community nutrition primarily through iCook. In spite of all the chaos with the recruitment and preparation for iCook we were asked to complete a personal improvement project. For this month long project we were asked to develop four breakfast recipes, create and follow an exercise plan, and develop goals and really focus on ourselves.

For the recipes I decided to create a few smoothies and a few different oatmeal recipes! I have yet to actually test my ALL of proposed recipes so I will just share the few of them that I have tasted with you. (Pictures will soon follow…)

The first smoothie I created includes lots of fruit, some vegetables, protein, and healthy fats! The following recipe makes at least two servings but it tastes just as good leftover!

Smoothie Recipe #1

  • 4 oz. Carrot Juice
  • 4 oz. Orange Juice
  • 2 Apples
  • 1 Kiwi
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • ¾ cup Pineapple
  • 6 oz. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup Ice
  • 1 tsp. Flax Seed

This next recipe is more of a protein drink that uses Carnation Instant Breakfast to add protein and vitamins and minerals!

Smoothie/Drink Recipe #2: Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Drink

  • 1 Package of Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast Powder
  • 1 Banana
  • 6 oz. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 2 T Peanut Butter
  • 8 oz. Skim Milk
  • 1 cup Ice

The next few recipes focus on using oatmeal. This is an amazing way to avoid having to ever cook oatmeal and having an instant breakfast all ready for you to grab and go!  The basic recipe for the foundation is listed below! All you do is mix the basic ingredients together is a jar or any container and leave in the fridge for at least a few hours (I typically just make it the night before) and then add any additional toppings (like granola) that you don’t want to get soggy just before you eat it!

Overnight Oats

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • ½ banana
  • ½ tbsp. chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon

In addition to this basic recipe you can add just about anything you want to it!

  • Addition Suggestions:
    • Peanut butter
    • Almond butter
    • Apple butter, apples, cinnamon
    • Honey
    • Berries
    • Maple Syrup
    • Coconut
    • Fruit
    • Granola
    • Hemp Seeds
    • Flax Seed

These are the recipes that I have tried so far!

Overnight oats made inside of a peanut butter jar that just has a bit of peanut butter left!

Overnight oats made inside of a peanut butter jar that just has a bit of peanut butter left!


Overnight oats with blueberries and hemp seeds!


Overnight oats topped with granola and extra cinnamon!

In addition to creating recipes I have created an exercise prescription for the next month that will increase my cardio and strength training!

August Calendar

September Calendar


This project served as the perfect platform to spend some time on myself and focus on goals that I have for myself.  I am looking forward to spending some dedicated time and learning through the process how to better counsel patients who have similar goals!

4-H Camp: Fun With Food!

This past week Erin and I spent the mornings teaching classes at 4-H camp to kids from 3rd to 7th grade. The class was titled “Fun with Food.” Each day covered a nutrition lesson, an activity, and made a recipe for a healthy snack. We had ten kids in each class and taught two hour-long classes each day.

The first lesson covered MyPlate. For an activity we had the kids create their own version of MyPlate with foods they enjoy eating on a paper plate. We also played a game that involved tossing the ball to one another and quickly naming a food in the chosen food group. For example, if the category was “vegetables” then if the ball was thrown to you, you had to name a vegetable and then toss the ball to someone else. If you couldn’t name one then you were out for that round. The kids really enjoyed this because it got them moving! For a snack that day we made fruit and vegetable pizzas using whole-wheat bagel thins, low-fat cream cheese, and a variety of fruits, vegetables, and almonds.



MyPlate Drawings

Snack Line

Fruit and Vegetable Pizza

On Wednesday, we covered measuring skills and healthy drink choices. We taught the lesson by breaking up into two groups and making banana-blueberry muffins. The kids were very excited and really enjoyed helping make a recipe. We adapted the recipe found here to use whole-wheat flour instead. This lesson taught me a few very important lessons about baking with kids. The first thing I learned, is to ALWAYS have more ingredients than you need! For example, the boy who volunteered to crack the egg in my group clearly had never actually done it before; I was fooled by his confidence! He calmly grabbed the egg and slammed it on the table. I have to admit that I was not expecting that! We all laughed and helped to clean it up and luckily we happen to have just one extra egg that day! Another lesson I learned is that kids are very clumsy. Things were constantly being spilt and dropped. It was a great learning experience and a very fun week! For the activity we played a cup-stacking relay game in two teams.

The New Drink Pyramid



On Thursday we covered how to read a nutrition label. We discussed the important components to look for and talked about healthier options. We played a game where we had to match the nutrition label with the food item that it belonged to. This was difficult for the kids and some kids were very interested while others could care less. We also played a guessing game about how many calories and how much fat were in fast food items. The kids really enjoyed this and were shocked how many calories were in these common items. This day we fruit salsa with cinnamon chips. This recipe was so….good! I highly recommend it everyone! We baked our chips in a muffin pan (because we forgot the baking sheets) but they turned out wonderful!

Food Label Reference Guide
<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/wmthompson/nutrition-facts-presentation&#8221; title=”Nutrition facts presentation” target=”_blank”>Nutrition facts presentation</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/wmthompson&#8221; target=”_blank”>Wendy Thompson</a></strong> </div>

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips - Click for Recipe

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips – Click for Recipe

Friday’s lesson covered basic food safety tips and how to make healthy meals from common leftover items in the fridge. We created a print out of a fridge stocked with food and had the kids pick food items and explain how they would assemble them into a meal that followed the MyPlate guidelines. This gave us the opportunity to discuss how to select healthier options such as milk selection, beverage selection (100% juice vs. juice cocktail), and got them thinking creatively. This day we had the kids create their own smoothies. We offered ingredients such as: strawberries, pineapple, milk, orange juice, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and cucumbers. Surprisingly enough, many kids actually included many of the vegetables in their smoothies and really liked it!

Leftovers Game

Overall this experience was a great learning lesson and I had a blast teaching the kids. In two weeks we will have the opportunity to teach day camp for the younger children!