Weekly Lessons and Local Foods Support Nutrition Education
How do you teach kids about healthy eating? Give them something they love: snacks!
Every Thursday at Wiggins Elementary School in Wiggins, Colorado, students get a nutrition lesson and an accompanying snack thanks to a nutrition grant from Action for Healthy Kids. The grant helped purchase equipment and supplies to provide healthy snacks, including blenders and hot air popcorn poppers.
This “snack day” has generated support from parents, teachers, the district food service coordinator, and even the librarian. Snacks have included fruit parfaits, fresh vegetables, cheese and crackers and popcorn. The first snack was a smoothie, and students immediately wanted to know when they could have it again. Students and some parents shared that they had fruit parfaits for breakfast every day after the taste testing.
The school sends information home to parents about the Thursday snack program, including recipes, so that kids and parents can discuss their favorite healthy foods. Students are also asked to bring in recipes of their own, which resulted in a banana ice cream recipe they plan to use for a future snack day.
But the program isn’t just about eating healthy snacks. PE teacher Amy Windsheimer makes sure kids are learning where food comes from and what makes it healthy or unhealthy. “When I received this grant, I was leery as to what would be expected, but students have enjoyed the food and learned a ton so far. I was surprised how little kids know about the food they eat. It is no surprise that many in our society struggle to eat healthy,” shared Amy.
Nutrition lessons aren’t just from books
Wiggins Elementary School is in a farming community in northern Colorado. Amy calls on her own family heritage and her neighbors to help educate her students about healthy eating. Since Amy’s mom grew up on a small dairy farm, Amy will enlist a local dairy farmer to help explain where milk comes from and its benefits for the body. One of her student’s fathers is an organic farmer, so Amy plans to reach out to him for some freshly grown popcorn for a healthy snack to show kids that popcorn is harvested differently from regular corn.
This grant was made possible with funding from Cargill.