According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it’s recommended that we consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products.
Unfortunately, on their own, most young people fall short in following these recommendations.
But schools are in a unique position to promote healthy eating and help ensure appropriate food and nutrient intake among students.
Schools provide students with opportunities to consume an array of foods throughout the school day and enable students to learn about and practice healthy eating behaviors.
Sometimes, getting students excited about trying vegetables is easier said than done.
Notre Dame Elementary hopes to change that, coming up with an innovative and fun program to encourage healthy habits among their students.
Notre Dame Elementary will participate in an Ohio-based program called “Veggie U.”
Veggie U’s curriculum was inspired by chefs and farmers in 2003, it has since developed through the volunteer efforts of nutritionists, doctors and local educators.
“The program was designed to provide students with a unique hands-on experience to increase awareness of healthy food options and teach the kids how real foods reach their plate,” said Lauren Hill, the Food Services Director for Notre Dame Elementary.
Over the course of five-weeks, students will learn about new and different vegetables.
They will be able to get their hands dirty, planting the seeds themselves. Using root-view boxes, the students will be able to observe every step of the process, and will record their findings in their journals.
They will also get a glimpse into the underground life of worms, using a worm farm to understand composting and soil.
After raising their mini “crop” the students will celebrate the end of the program with a vegetable tasting.
Students will also learn recipes and how to prepare the vegetables that they’ve grown.
“As ‘graduates’ of Veggie U, students will know the importance of good nutrition, the concept of sustainable agriculture, and how vegetables are grown here in Ohio,” said Hill.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext 1932 or via Twitter @PDT_Ciara