Tag Archives: food

Champions of the Environment: Carolina Springs Middle School Beautification Collaboration

by
Susanna Mayrides
Carolina Springs Middle School

This is the second of a series of blog posts recognizing winners of the 2016 Champions of the Environment awards.

One of the greatest motivations of caring for our planet is that future generations can enjoy nature, its cycles, and its biodiversity, among other things and environmental education is the greatest tool for this purpose, especially in times when climate change is jeopardizing the balance of the environment. Environmental education, in addition to generating awareness and solutions relevant to current environmental problems caused by human activities and the effects of the relationship between man and the environment, is a pedagogical mechanism that also infuses the interaction that exists within ecosystems.

At Carolina Springs Middle School, we continually search for ways to add authentic assessments to our students’ learning experiences, and we feel this is a perfect opportunity to develop in this area. We would like to make the garden a focal point of our Annual World Language Night, which we celebrate during the spring.  The vision is to have students make presentations to their parents in the target language that evening.

Some of the key lessons my students gained from the project include:

  • Engage STEM students and their parents in constructing a water-efficient handicap accessible raised vegetable garden.
  • Create a student-led collaboration between World Language Students, Special Education Students, and the students elected to the Student Government Association.
  • Teach students the importance of recycling and the prevention and reduction of air, water, and land pollution.
  • Teach the students the importance of a global conversation about land, water and air quality providing instruction in at least two target languages.
  • Teach the reproducible skills embedded in learning how to grow plants and herbs.

The best part of this project is that it involves parents of our students and gives them an opportunity to work alongside their children. On the other hand, the most challenging part of the project has been coordinating all the involved parties.

I think the project will have lasting impacts on the students. We can accomplish our short-term goals within the school year, and the long-term goals will encourage the students to work together even as they move up to our local high schools. They can instruct and help our students keep the garden during the summer and winter breaks so we can continue working on the project year after year without starting from zero every time.

My advice for a teacher or class wanting to start their own environmental education project would be to share, share, share! The main characteristic of this project is to transfer knowledge and techniques to the participants, so that they can apply them in the future without having to look for the teacher regularly. We want the teacher to become the facilitator and the student to take charge of the project. Teaching/Training is not a single direction, but a process of mutual learning and feedback, because nobody knows everything, but we all know something, and together we know a lot. It is important that we as facilitators have an open and tolerant attitude and that we are aware of the context in which we move.

It’s Game Time: Healthier Super Bowl Food

By Adrianna Bradley

The Super Bowl, coming up this weekend, is often a time to indulge in chicken wings, pizza and alcoholic beverages.  While tasty, many of these foods are high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. We have some nutritious alternatives to satisfy your taste buds, and still walk away a winner.

Also, here’s some healthy tips from our Office of Nutrition to help you enjoy game day.

  • Start your day with exercise: It is easy to skip exercise on game day. Score a touchdown by starting the day off with a little exercise. Go for a brisk 30-minute walk, jog or run, or pop in an exercise DVD.  It does not matter what you, just that you do it!
  • Eat before the party: Take a timeout to eat a healthy meal before the party. If you show up hungry you are more likely to overeat.
  • Focus on fruits and veggies: Intercept calories from fat and sugar, and reduce your salt intake by filling your plate with fresh fruits and veggies. If you are hosting, provide healthy alternatives to your guests to provide balance on the plate.
  • Monitor your portion sizes: Stay inbounds with your calories for the day.  Make a plate of snacks and walk away from the table. Avoid mindlessly eating more than you need.
  • Remember beverages count too: Drink water or provide a fruit-flavored water to your guests as an alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda and sweet tea. If you are consuming alcoholic beverages, practice proper portion sizes: Limit your alcoholic beverages to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.

The 12 Days of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling

As wonderful as the holidays can be, they also are a time when we tend to generate tons of waste, including uneaten food, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, boxes — and much more.

Here are 12 recycling and waste reduction tips we hope you put to use this holiday season.

  1. Keep a waste free kitchen by taking a look around to determine what you already have on hand before going shopping. Make a list of things you need before heading to the store. Compost or donate your unwanted food and recyclablesrecycle your cooking oil. Find other helpful tips at dhec.sc.gov/dontwastefoodsc.
  2. Have hard-to-recycle items? Consider only buying materials packaged in what can be recycled in your area. Find where and what you can recycle at www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Recycling.
  3. Give waste-less gifts like your time to clean someone’s house, piano or guitar lessons, gym memberships or certificates for pampering.newspaperwrap
  4. Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled, BUT you can reuse something to wrap with instead like paper bags, newspaper, maps or use reusable grocery bags, scarves or flower pots. Also reuse greeting cards to make gift tags.
  5. Stop the unwanted mail! Check out ecocycle.org/junkmail for 6 easy steps. Make sure to recycle mail with your paper as well.
  6. Prevent food waste this holiday by providing reusable containers or asking your guests to bring their own for leftovers.ledlights
  7. Use LED lights, which last 10 times longer and use 80 percent less energy. Recycle your old strings lights, find more information on hard-to-recycle items at scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Recycling/WhatCanIRecycle/.
  8. Go with an eco-deco theme by decorating with natural materials like greenery, gourds, fresh fruit and pine cones – all which can be composted after the holidays.
  9. Set up a collection corner at your party by providing an area where guests can bring unwanted items to swap or donate.
  10. Always let your guests know what can be recycled and composted. Clearly mark your bins and let guests know where they’re located.
  11. Provide a green dining experience by using dishes and silverware instead of disposables. If you need more dishes for guests, shop thrift stores to find festive ones.christmastree
  12. Grind those greens. If you decorated a real tree and are ready for it to go, remember to find out where your county will be accepting them for grinding.

For more tips and information on recycling and waste reduction, visit the DHEC website.

Don’t let foodborne illnesses ruin your holiday!

During the holidays, many people gather with friends and family to enjoy one another’s company and share scrumptious meals.

Don’t let foodborne illnesses ruin your holiday cheer. Be sure to properly prepare and store food to ensure your holidays are indeed merry — and safe.

Here are some food safety tips to help make your seasonal gatherings a success:

Safe Temperatures

  • Keep foods out of the “danger zone,” which is between 40°F and 140°F.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • While frozen, food is safe indefinitely, but the quality will degrade over time.
  • Marinate meat in the refrigerator; this can safely be done for up to 5 days.

Proper Washing

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often — before, during and after food preparation.
  • Bacteria can’t be washed off raw food. Cooking is the only way to kill potentially dangerous organisms.

Food Separation

  • Separate raw food from cooked/ready-to-eat food.
  • Either use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils or thoroughly wash with soap and water between uses.

Leftover Storage

  • Refrigerate any leftovers within two hours to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • When storing leftovers, cut them into smaller pieces and store them in shallow dishes so they can chill faster.
  • Make sure the refrigerator is not over packed so that proper air circulation will occur; this will ensure proper cooling.
  • Leftovers are safe for three to four days in the refrigerator and forever while frozen; use frozen food within two to six months for the best quality. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • When preparing leftovers, make sure to reheat them to 165°F before serving.

For more information on holiday food safety, including how to properly prepare turkey, stuffing and other food items, visit the DHEC website.

Pass the Plate – Take Action on Hunger

Pictured: DHEC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, took the challenge and shared “On an empty stomach I can’t be active.

By Emily Pineda, DHEC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

As part of  Hunger Action Month, Feeding America is encouraging individuals to share what they can’t do on an empty stomach. You can write it on a plate, take a selfie, and post to your social media channels with #HungerActionMonth. It’s one way to help raise awareness for more than 790,000 of our neighbors in South Carolina who do not always know where they will find their next meal.

In South Carolina, there are several ways you can help end hunger in your community. One way is working with your local food bank. You can donate food, volunteer, or make a gift. There are four food banks that serve South Carolina – Golden Harvest Food Bank, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Lowcountry Food Bank, and Second Harvest Food Bank. To find out more about each food bank, please visit scfoodbankassociation.org.

DHEC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity is working with the S.C. Department of Agriculture to increase the amount of produce at food banks and food pantries. To learn more about the Farm to Food Bank initiative, visit http://www.scfarmtoinstitution.com. In addition, DHEC’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling is working with the SC Department of Commerce and partners to help South Carolina cut food waste in half by 2030. To learn more about Don’t Waste Food S.C. campaign, visit www.scdhec.gov/dontwastefoodsc.

To learn more about Hunger Action Month, please visit www.feedingamerica.org.