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Nutrition program encourages students to eat healthier

by Heidi Desch Western News
| April 7, 2011 12:00 PM

What gets elementary students excited

to eat their fruits and vegetables?

Apparently a little bit of

encouragement from folks dressed as those same fruits and


The human-fruit and human-vegetables

cheered on students as they passed through food lines in the Asa

Wood gym last week. Students quickly helped themselves to

broccoflower and star fruit, in addition to grapes, carrot sticks

and snap peas.

Those costumed folks also gave out high

fives as students picked up their stickers that said “I tried


The special event was part of an effort

to get students to eat healthier. This school year students have

been introduced to a number of fruit and vegetables on the regular

lunch menu. A grant helped fund the effort, which was coordinated

with the school’s food vendor.

“It’s been very successful,” said Lois

Thatcher, wellness coordinator. “We want to reduce processed


When a new food appears on the menu,

some students take a few times before they get used to it, but the

program has been successful, according to Thatcher.

“They are actually eating better than

most of us thought they would,” she said.

Teachers have incorporated healthier

eating into the curriculum also.

Students are learning the history of

some foods. Like that Christopher Columbus brought cantaloupe seeds

to America.

Students also made posters with

drawings and facts about fruits and vegetables.

“It’s been wonderful,” Thatcher