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Dr. Cleo & Kids Cook ‘Bugs’

Cooking Club Imparts Healthy Eating, Other Lessons to Boys and Girls Club Members

Jazmyn, a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley’s Holtville unit, mixes cereal flakes and almond butter to make a "snowflake ball" during Dr. Cleo’s Cooking Club, a presentation by El Centro Regional Medical Center dietary staff and Molina Healthcare officials, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Monday, July 19. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO
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HOLTVILLE — For a make-believe cat, Dr. Cleo gets around, and this Molina Healthcare mascot taught a roomful of children the finer points of eating “ants” and other healthy life lessons.

Abigail, a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley’s Holtville unit, snacks on “ants on a log” at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Monday, July 19. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

“I liked the food and how they taught us how to stay active,” said 9-year-old Sebastian, a member of the Holtville unit of the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley.

“My favorite part was when they taught us how to wash our hands correctly,” said 10-year-old Stephannee.

In partnership with El Centro Regional Medical Center, Molina Healthcare brought its Dr. Cleo’s Cooking Club to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Monday afternoon, July 19, when members of the ECRMC dietary staff and Molina officials led a class on healthy eating, exercise, and personal hygiene for members of the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley.

The Brawley unit of the club took part on Tuesday, July 20.

While there was no Dr. Cleo in attendance — the physical feline physician mascot of Molina Healthcare does appear at certain events across the nation as a person dressed in a giant fur-covered suit — Molina uses its Dr. Cleo concept to impart health lessons to children in communities served by the managed healthcare administrator, which covers some 4.6 million people nationwide.

Marco works on his “snowflake ball” during a presentation by El Centro Regional Medical Center dietary staff and Molina Healthcare officials to the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley’s Holtville unit on Monday, July 19. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

The big hit with the Holtville children seemed to be the “cooking” lessons, where dietary representatives and Molina staff showed the children how to make healthyy snacks from healthy ingredients.

The “ants on a log,” for instance, were really just celery stalks (log) with cream cheese and raisins (ants).

Maya spreads cream cheese on a celery stalk to create “ants on a log” during a presentation to the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley’s Holtville unit on Monday, July 19. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

“I really liked the ants on a log,” 8-year-old Abigail said.

Saul, 12, added: “I liked making the snacks, they tasted good.”

The Molina Healthcare and ECRMC staff interacted with the club members in a friendly manner, providing paper hats and water bottles during the one-hour presentation. They also provided the children with additional information and materials where they could practice healthy living at home. 

“The Molina Healthcare people were really nice,” Abigail added. “I liked them teaching us how to make a snack and wash our hands.”

DR. CLEO’S COOKING CLUB RECIPES

Ants on a Log

1 stalk of celery

1 tablespoon of (sugar free) peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese

1 handful of raisins

Clean celery and cut into 5- to 6-inch pieces. Spread celery sticks with peanut butter

or cream cheese. Top with raisins.

220 calories 10 grams of fat per serving

Snowflake Balls

1 cup almond butter (sugar free) or peanut butter

1 cup cereal flakes

1 handful of graham crackers

Mix together peanut butter or almond butter and cereal flakes in a bowl.

Shape into balls and roll in crushed graham crackers. Makes 8 servings

235 calories, 17 grams of fat per serving

Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley staff inside Holtville’s St. Paul’s Lutheran Church help club members with their healthy concoctions during Dr. Cleo’s Cooking Club, a presentation by El Centro Regional Medical Center dietary staff and Molina Healthcare officials, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Monday, July 19. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

Amber Zamora is Holtville unit coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club of Imperial Valley. Cathi Phillips Larios contributed information to this report