The women, participants in Mothers in Recovery, meet once a week for up to one year to boost life skills and support one another through a challenging period of their lives. Four times, they are joined by UC Cooperative Extension nutrition educators to learn healthy eating on a budget.
“Our curriculum – Plan, Shop, Save and Cook – is very simple and has great visuals,” said Molly Klumb, the UC community nutrition education specialist who works with the Placer County moms.
For each session, Klumb brings bags full of fresh seasonal produce from the local farmers market. She demonstrates a healthy recipe, and sends the women home with produce to cook for themselves and their families.
“Some will flat out say they don't like it,” Klumb said. But she sees gradual improvement week to week.
“Once I made a salad with fresh beets and carrots,” Klumb said. “One mom said, ‘I have always seen beets in the store, but haven't ever tried them. I really like them and now include them with dinner after trying that recipe.'”
During another lesson, the mothers were shown how to make fruit- or vegetable-infused water as a thirst quencher. After learning the detrimental health impacts of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, one mom declared, “I'm never going to buy soda again! I'm going to just make this infused water. It's better for you plus it's cheaper.”
The four sessions cover:
- Plan – Planning meals and making shopping lists to avoid impulse purchases and last-minute trips to the grocery story.
- Shop – Taking time to carefully read nutrition facts and ingredient lists on food labels when at the grocery store.
- Save – Learning to spend less by comparing unit prices, buying in bulk, selecting store brands, avoiding “extras” like chips and soda, and, if possible, shopping without the children.
- Cook – Practicing how to read and follow recipes and cook the food that was purchased.
The final class is conducted at the farmers market, where the mothers each receive a $20 voucher to buy healthy food for their families.
To date, 30 moms have participated in the four-session series led by UC CalFresh, a University of California nutrition education program for people who receive CalFresh benefits. Funds for the food purchases are provided by Nutrition BEST, a program administered by UC Cooperative Extension for First 5 Placer County.
Following is the recipe for grated beet salad that was shared with the Mothers in Recovery:
Grated beet salad
Yield: 6 servings
Time: 25 minutes
- 3-4 tablespoons vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- 3 medium beets, peeled and grated
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and grated
- ½ cup basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, add beets, carrots, basil and vinaigrette. Toss to combine.
- Taste and adjust for seasoning.
Basic vinaigrette dressing
- 3 tablespoons cider or other vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon prepared mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Combine first 6 ingredients
- Whisk mixture while slowly adding oil.
- Serve immediately. Leftover dressing can be refrigerated up to one week.