Preschool Nutrition Lesson and Activity

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I had to quickly come up with an activity for 4 and 5 year old migrant school students.

They were coming to tour the hospital and one of the teachers asked specifically for an activity with Dietary. Not only did I have limited Spanish, it also had been a long time since I dealt with children of that age!

Knowing that preschoolers are really into learning colors, I fashioned an activity page based on the rainbow and different colors of fruit. As I greeted the children I asked if they believed they could eat a rainbow. Most of the children emphatically declared “No!” Next I asked if they believed they could eat colors? When I showed them the activity page with different colors of fruit they shouted, “Yes!” I explained that if they ate many different colors of fruit and vegetables they could have a healthy diet.

Following that introduction, I showed them how to prepare a fruit parfait. I had three different flavors of yogurt, a bowl of granola, and three different kinds of chopped fresh fruit. While preparing my parfait as an example, I made comments such as, “Yum, green grapes! Bright red strawberries! Yellow bananas! I love them all.” Then with the teachers’ assistance, we had groups of four build their own parfaits. I also explain how yogurt is part of the dairy group and is very important in building bones. I have yet had one child refuse the yogurt and they loved being able to choose which kinds of fruit to use. I was happy to see the teachers have been introducing nutrition at this early age. By Kay Hougan-Jones, CDM, CFPP, Director of Dietary, Othello Community Hospital

Farm to school

Students in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District are likely to eat healthier as local farmers get an economic boost, thanks to a $248,000 “farm to school” grant to Saint Louis University.

The Missouri Foundation for Health is supporting the HELP – or Healthy Eating with Local Produce – program with an “innovative funding” grant, which underwrites initiatives that tackle an old problem in a new way.

Saint Louis University’s multi-faceted grant is designed to improve school lunches and teach business skills in the Maplewood Richmond Heights district, which has half of its students receiving free or reduced priced lunches. That food will be sliced, diced and cooked in a converted industrial kitchen at the Salus Center, which is on the SLU Medical Center campus. The food then will be delivered to Maplewood Richmond Heights, where it will be served as part of lunches at its early childhood center, elementary, middle and high schools. The facility also will house a culinary education program, teaching district foodservice workers and middle school students how to prepare healthier foods that are high in protein or are locally grown.

Students will launch their own business, selling a product they create using local produce. Dietetics interns will assist Maplewood Richmond Heights school children in planting school gardens. They also will weave in nutrition and exercise programs into health, science and physical education lessons.

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