Does your child's school have a focus on healthy eating and living?
We have heard so much about childhood obesity and the scary stats that surround that. The CDC says children born in 2000, 1 out of 3 is expected to develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. This may be the first generation of children that has a shorter life expectancy than their parents! That is scary stuff!!!
We also hear so much about schools being a culture of junk food…poor lunches, junk vending machine options and more…a constant parade of chemical laden, sugar filled, artificially colored and flavored foods.
I am fortunate that the school my daughter attends already has an eye on healthy eating and living which is not the case in so many schools around the country. However, there is always room for more awareness and education, right?
I am so excited that a new committee has started at my child's school. A group of parents and teachers who are excited and passionate about healthy eating and living have formed a “Healthy Child, Healthy School” committee.
We are still new and figuring out our goals, but what an exciting opportunity to spread awareness and education to students and parents!
One of our first endeavors was to have some ‘healthy food' activities at the annual end of school year picnic. This picnic is always a fun time. There's a spread of yummy food that parents bring in potluck style. There are many activities inside and outside…crafts, games, face painting. It's a wonderful day for parents, teachers and children to kick back and celebrate the end to a great school year and the beginning of summer.
It was fun to work together to decide which activities to have. This being a Montessori School, 3 of the activities were a play on work done in the primary classrooms….sensory activities.
We ended up with 4 healthy food activities for the kids and parents at the end of school picnic.
Sensory Station: Smell
At this station, we had 5 plastic containers each filled with a cut up fruit or vegetable. We used onion, strawberry, orange, lemon and pineapple. We cut holes in the lid and had children smell and guess what was in the container.
Sensory Station: Touch
This station was having the children guess a fruit or vegetable based on feel. We had 5 small drawstring bags each containing a fruit or vegetable (you can see them in the far right of the picture above). We used cantaloupe, kiwi, grapes, mango and broccoli. The children had fun guessing what each was. The mango and the broccoli were the most difficult for them (adults included)!
Sensory Station: Taste
We have two parents who are rock stars at making delicious and nutritious smoothies and pressed juices.
One parent brought her Vitamix in and mixed up two different concoctions for the kids to try. I will share the recipes in a future post but to give you a preview: one was the ‘Jolly Green Giant' with tons of greens and some fruit. The other was ‘Blue Belle' full of delicious berries and other tasty fruits! How fun to have the Vitamix whirling away!
Another parent brought 2 AMAZING pressed juices…Power Greens (a mixture of 95% greens and a touch of lemon) and Rockin the Beet (beet, obviously, with other veggies and fruit). These are two of my favorite concoctions which we drink regularly in our own home. It was so cool to see the kids (and parents!) tasting the juices and smoothies and not believing all the vegetables that were stuffed in there!
Tower Garden Station
The final station was the Tower Garden station. If you don't know what a Tower Garden is, I encourage you to check them out! It is an aeroponic vertical garden and I am dying to get one for my house!
One of the exciting changes for the next school year is that one of our teachers has agreed to be the pilot classroom for the Tower Garden and have one in her classroom. How cool will it be for the kids to see fruits, vegetables and flowers growing in their room? When it is time for snack, they can pick some cucumbers and slice them up. Maybe they can even share with other classrooms or bring extra produce home (like their own little CSA). So cool!!!!
It would be so awesome if every classroom had one of these!!
For the picnic, we decided to have a drawing of a Tower Garden and the kids could draw their favorite fruit, vegetable or flower and tape them to the garden. We also had some brochures and a poster up for people who were interested in learning more.
We also had a few posters and informational papers around for people to peruse.
We also had a print up of these 5 healthy recipes for parents to take home:
All in all it went well. I think it was a good first step to introducing the Healthy Child Healthy School committee and to bring more awareness to healthy food and living at our school.
I can't wait to see what else we can do next year! We have big plans for Back to School Night, our annual Fall Fest and Food Day! Will keep you posted!
What about you? Are you involved at all in making healthy changes at your children's schools? I would love to hear what you have going on…what has worked…what hasn't! Leave comments below!
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