Meet Laura Liechty, 4-H Healthy Living Specialist and SWITCH Implementation Coordinator
What is your role with SWITCH?
I am part of the implementation team, and help coordinate trainings and support for schools as they implement the SWITCH program. With Iowa 4-H’s partnership in SWITCH, I also help train our ISU Extension and Outreach staff as they work with schools around the state to be a part of the SWITCH program.
How did you get interested in the area of health/school wellness?
I knew I wanted to become a dietitian since high school. I observed the negative effects poor health can have on someone’s physical and emotional wellbeing. After seeing the positive impacts of a healthy lifestyle change, I knew my interest in healthy habits would be in education to help spread awareness to prevent the development of unhealthy outcomes.
What tip would you give to parents to help integrate SWITCH practices at home?
Ask your child to share what they’re learning about SWITCH at school. Have them teach or demonstrate new strategies that you can do together as a family; doing physical activity during a commercial break, eating together as a family, have them choose a new fruit or vegetable to try while grocery shopping, etc. Behavior change takes time, so set new goals as a family and model these new changes together.
How do you integrate SWITCH practices in your personal life?
Working on campus, I find myself walking to meetings quite a lot versus driving, and I try to pack fruits and vegetables as my snacks. SWITCH has helped me be mindful of my screen time. Although at work, I am often behind a computer screen, I try to limit it at home and go for a walk and explore more parks.
Favorite website/publication to share with families?
If you’re looking for simple, affordable and nutritious recipes to try as a family, ISU Extension’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. is a great site full of recipes and resources to help you make healthy choices at the grocery store with money saving tips. It includes instructional videos on produce preparation and blog posts with family focused messages on incorporating healthy choices into your household. https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/