Photo Courtesy of Champions for Change

The California State University Northridge organization Champions for Change recently collaborated with Canoga Park Elementary School to host a “Healthy Snack Day.”

The event was held at two locations, first in the morning at the elementary school campus for students and family members, and again in the afternoon at the West Valley Boys and Girls Club, also in Canoga Park.

Healthy Snack Day was a statewide Day of Action led by the Champions for Change – Healthy Community Initiative funded by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health as part of an $880,000 grant given to the university in 2016 to support projects to reduce obesity rates among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education eligible populations in Canoga Park.

“Our goal was to incorporate healthy eating patterns by making small shifts to nutrient-dense snacks and healthy food choices. Canoga Park community members joined CSUN Champions for Change to learn how to incorporate new innovative ways to enjoy nutrient-dense recipes and snacks at home,” event officials said.

At both locations, food demonstrations were conducted to inform participants how to incorporate healthy snacks into their daily diets. Educational materials, including culturally appropriate cookbooks with healthy recipes, were given to participating adults.

Children were given the “Kids Get Cooking” recipe book, which provides them with the skills necessary to prepare healthy, quick, and affordable snacks on their own. The children enjoyed sharing examples of their favorite healthy snacks. The parents seemed interested in learning about new foods and snacks to eat as a family. 

Also included were educational materials on that identified drinks with added sugar, and alternative healthy drink recipes for individuals.

The Champions for Change team told students that healthy snacks and healthy beverages “go hand-in-hand,” and hoped to educate all participating children and adults on how to spot hidden sugars, along with facts on how many teaspoons of sugar are comprised within sugar-sweetened beverages.

Approximately 40 to 50 percent of the United States population consumes two to three snacks a day and approximately one-third consumes four or more snacks a day. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, about three-fourths of Americans do not consume enough vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils. 

“By incorporating Healthy Snack Day into our program, we continue to improve the health of children that are at greater risk for obesity and disease. We encourage our community members to implement these valuable ideas into their daily routine to improve their overall health. We want to continue to empower all community members to make healthy choices and improve their quality of life through the power of nutrition,” an organization spokesperson said in a released statement.