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U.S. Congressman mixes up healthy food for UC nutrition education program

When United States Congressman Jim Costa learned about the federally funded nutrition education programs being offered in his district, he made plans to visit.

He wanted a first-hand experience with UC CalFresh, in which UC Cooperative Extension educators visit classrooms to share new foods, teach healthy eating strategies and demonstrate physical activity to children and low-income families.

U.S. Congressman Jim Costa and UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Fresno and Madera counties Mandeep Virk Baker prep salad ingredients.

In April, Congressman Costa not only met a group second graders at La Vina School in Madera County, their teacher Veronica Nava, and principal Jesus Navarro, he tucked in his tie and blended healthful ingredients like black beans, bell peppers and fresh mangos into the salad for the children to taste.

U.S. Congressman Jim Costa blends a salad for students at La Vina Elementary School in Madera County. UCCE nutrition educator Angelica Perez stands with the congressman.

"I grew up in a rural area like you, and went to a wonderful school, like the one you're going to," Costa told the children. "You're lucky to have classes like this. It's so important to have good eating habits."

A second-grader sniffs the salad before sampling. "Smells like veggies," she said.

Costa said it was an honor to represent the second-graders and their parents in Washington, D.C.

"Can you do me a favor?" he asked. "I want you to be the best you can be. If you do well in what you do, America will be a better country."

Before leaving, Costa led the children in the 4-H Pledge:

I pledge:

My head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
My health to better living
for my club, my community,
my country and my world.

As a youth, Costa was a member of 4-H, a youth development program offered to children aged 9 to 19 by UC Cooperative Extension.

U.S. Congressman Costa says goodbye to La Vina second-graders.

 Congressman Costa mixed up the following recipe for the students:

Mango and black bean salad
Mango and black bean salad


  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups peeled, pitted and diced fresh mango (about 2 small mangos)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons 100% orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Salad may be served right away, but is best if covered and chilled for a least 1 hour for flavors to blend.


Posted on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 6:54 AM

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