Hi everyone! My name is Lydia Conner, and I am the Summer Nutrition Intern at Gleaners Food Bank for the second year in a row. This summer was much different from the last two years of Summer Nutrition Club due to COVID-19. To keep everyone safe, Gleaners staff and partnering sites tried out virtual programming for the first time. While it has been a unique summer, this has been a valuable experience for me as I take my next steps toward becoming a dietitian.
Lydia Conner, Summer Nutrition Intern, with one of this year's tasty recipes
Over the past few months, I have been working with Sarah Wilson, Gleaners’ Nutrition Manager and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, to navigate lesson content creation. Last summer’s lessons were focused on the five food groups of MyPlate, trying new fruits and vegetables, and interactive group activities.
This year’s lessons built upon those concepts to involve children and families in growing fruits and vegetables, choosing healthy options, and preparing balanced meals together. Each of the three lessons featured kid-friendly cooking skills and healthy recipes that used foods from the Gleaners family meal boxes and produce boxes. As a bonus, the kids had the chance to follow along in weekly garden updates of my family’s garden, and I was able to show them how to incorporate some of our fresh produce into the recipes!
This child from Westminster Neighborhood Center was excited about participating in Summer Nutrition Club!
The recipes for each week were:
The lessons also included basic garden care tips, a Fruit & Vegetable Musical Chairs Game, and a Plant & Animal Protein Activity. Overall, the objectives were to show the children where some of their food can come from and encourage them to choose a variety of foods from each food group.
The summer came to a close with two Virtual Family Cooking Classes on Facebook Live: one on how to make zucchini boats and the other on how to make homemade pizza. My family had lots of zucchini coming out of our garden this summer, and it was put to great use for several different zucchini boat recipe variations. For the pizza recipe, I demonstrated how to make an easy homemade pizza dough, topping it with fresh veggies. The tomatoes and green peppers were fresh out of my family’s garden! I also provided tips for parents to include their children in the recipe preparation from preparing zucchini boats, measuring ingredients, topping the zucchini boats, and topping the pizzas.
The finished pizza from our second Virtual Family Cooking Class on Facebook Live
The recipes and recorded videos from each lesson and virtual family cooking class were posted on the Gleaners NutritionHub website and Facebook page. Links to this content were then emailed to each of the 30 Indianapolis community sites that received food boxes from Gleaners this summer. We were lucky to work with some wonderful site coordinators who went above and beyond to teach the lessons at their camps or send materials home with the family meal boxes!
Youth from Westminster Neighborhood Services had a blast with hands-on learning about gardening and cooking this summer!
While this summer was challenging to navigate at times, I am very grateful to have had the experience of communicating nutrition information virtually and contributing to the content on the new NutritionHub website. It will continue to be an amazing resource for the families that Gleaners serves, and Summer Nutrition Club material will now be available to anyone interested year-round!
Sarah Wilson, RDN, Nutrition Manager at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, along with guest blog posts by dietetic interns