A Healthy Day with Community Health Expert Premere Session
Jan 17, 2022 Cedars-Sinai Staff
Premere Session knows how to whip up a tasty fruit and yogurt parfait—and she can teach you how to juggle.
The associate director of Healthy Habits at Cedars-Sinai oversees one of the medical center's signature school-based community benefit programs. On a typical weekday, Premere can be found in one of the 21 schools in Los Angeles' underserved communities where the program operates, teaching second graders about whole grains, leading yoga stretches and applying all of these healthy habits at home in Los Angeles where she lives with her husband, Fletcher, and their three daughters Elle (8 months), Jolie (3) and Greyson (5).
"I really cherish my team and the work that we do. We all work well together because we have a connected teamwork mentality and we always support each other."
7 a.m.: ALL HANDS ON DECK FOR BREAKFAST TIME
I like to engage my daughters in the process of cooking, and breakfast parfaits are such an easy way to do that. They can select the fruits they prefer, and they can also pick what part of the prep work they want to help with. My girls all have their own personalities, but I think the thing they all enjoy most is cutting up the fruit—so I got them their own kid-safe knives! I think it's important to give them the freedom to select; they are really engaged in the food preparation process, and then they are excited when eating and trying new foods. This is also one of the key messages of the Healthy Habits program when it comes to teaching good nutrition habits to school children and families.
8:30 a.m.: VISITING 6TH AVENUE ELEMENTARY WITH HEALTHY HABITS
With Healthy Habits, we work with teachers to provide a comprehensive health education curriculum and activities that reinforce healthy lifestyle practices. The program also supports school-wide goals for improved health and wellness. The second graders at 6th Avenue Elementary love their Healthy Habits workbook. One of the lessons centers around whole grains: They're learning about healthy whole grains and choosing brown rice versus white, whole-wheat bread versus white bread.
10 a.m.: TIME TO STRETCH…AND DO MATH?
We connect to the students through fun, interactive classroom activities, stressing not just the need for healthy food choices but also the importance of physical fitness, and how to learn to fit time to exercise or stretch and refocus throughout the day. Yoga is the perfect practice for that. The kids are learning all the poses—mountain pose, chair pose—and we throw in a little geometry, too, as we go into the different sides of the triangle pose!
10:30 a.m.: HEALTHY SNACKTIME
When we serve our homemade healthy trail mix to our older grades, we use it as an opportunity to teach them how to build a healthy, balanced meal—how to think about not just having one food group but at least two or three food groups per meal. We ask them to look in the baggies and identify how many food groups are there: fruits and vegetables, protein and grains, etc. The idea of this healthy trail mix is to show that they can use easy ingredients that are low in sugar, calories and salt to create their own trail mix at home with their families. So many store-bought trail mixes tend to have a lot of added sugar, so we really want to encourage the students to think about healthful ingredients at home that they can put together.
3 p.m.: PREPPING HEALTHY SNACKS FOR NEXT DAY'S SCHOOL VISIT
I really cherish my team and the work that we do. We all work well together because we have a connected teamwork mentality and we always support each other. On a typical day, we prep healthy snacks for approximately 300 students in a single afternoon. Sometimes we're all in the kitchen prepping for a few hours the day before, putting all the ingredients into containers or individual bags of our low-sugar, low-sodium, low-calorie, healthy trail mix—like here with my colleagues Esther Valerio and Sara Brown, and our graduate student intern Anahi Luna.
3:30 p.m.: JUGGLING DEMONSTRATION
We bring a lot of fun exercise equipment when we engage with students as part of our 10-week school program, and we found that teaching them to juggle is a fantastic activity that doesn't only make them move, it also enhances motor skills, helps them focus and is really, really fun!
5 p.m.: FAMILY FUN TIME
We have a pretty animated household! We like to make sure our daughters enjoy playing in the yard and get to be active. And my husband Fletcher is such a good sport about being the human target!