After-school kids taught healthy eating habits

Apr 26 2012 - 6:51pm

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Julie Johansen shoes kids how to make peanut butter and jelly and banana wraps as part of the Junior League of Ogden's Kids in the Kitchen program at James Madison Elementary School in Ogden on Thursday. The program aims to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner
Karina Estrada, 9, makes a bagel with cream cheese and vegetables as part of the Junior League of Ogden's Kids in the Kitchen program at James Madison Elementary School in Ogden on Thursday. The program aims to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Maricela Garnica, left, 11, and Vanilla Martinez, 11, make bagels with cream cheese and vegetables as part of the Junior League of Ogden's Kids in the Kitchen program at James Madison Elementary School in Ogden on Thursday. The program aims to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Dina Palafox, left, 6, and Ashley Godeniz, 7, make peanut butter and jelly and banana wraps as part of the Junior League of Ogden's Kids in the Kitchen program at James Madison Elementary School in Ogden on  Thursday. The program aims to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Julie Johansen shoes kids how to make peanut butter and jelly and banana wraps as part of the Junior League of Ogden's Kids in the Kitchen program at James Madison Elementary School in Ogden on Thursday. The program aims to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner
Karina Estrada, 9, makes a bagel with cream cheese and vegetables as part of the Junior League of Ogden's Kids in the Kitchen program at James Madison Elementary School in Ogden on Thursday. The program aims to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Maricela Garnica, left, 11, and Vanilla Martinez, 11, make bagels with cream cheese and vegetables as part of the Junior League of Ogden's Kids in the Kitchen program at James Madison Elementary School in Ogden on Thursday. The program aims to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Dina Palafox, left, 6, and Ashley Godeniz, 7, make peanut butter and jelly and banana wraps as part of the Junior League of Ogden's Kids in the Kitchen program at James Madison Elementary School in Ogden on  Thursday. The program aims to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- Anahi Garcia doesn't like all healthy foods, but she was willing to give several of them a try Thursday afternoon.

"Look at this. It actually looks good," she said. "There are a lot of good vitamins in here."

Anahi had made her own healthy snack. After laying out a whole-wheat tortilla, she added a little peanut butter, sunflower seeds, half a banana and some strawberry jelly. After rolling it up tightly she took a bite.

"Mmmm. It's good," she said.

Anahi is a student at James Madison Elementary School. She and 45 other after-school kids were taught healthy eating habits by members of the Junior League of Ogden.

Members of the league have been involved in the Kids in the Kitchen program since 2002, said Jenny Kite, a member and the public relations director of the Junior League.

"This is a program designed to teach kids how to live healthy lives," she said. "We want them to know there are fun ways to incorporate healthy foods. No one expects a child to eat a pile of broccoli, but if you make it fun, they're more willing to try."

Several of the kids actually said they didn't like broccoli, but after adding it to a bagel and light cream cheese, they admitted it didn't taste so bad. Other kids said they didn't like grapes and apples, but adding them to a fruit kabob seemed to make them tastier.

"I really like bananas, and I have never liked grapes and apples," said Itzel Ramirez. "If you make it fun, they taste better."

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, children should eat two cups of fruit and two cups of vegetables each day. There are plenty of fun ways to do that. For instance, the International Junior League suggests adding vegetables, such as peas, to macaroni and cheese. Carrots are good in spaghetti and many raw veggies can be dipped in salsa or flavored yogurt.

Kids should also get into the habit of eating baked foods rather than fried foods, snacks with a little protein and cereal with plenty of fiber.

Kids in the Kitchen is a program taught worldwide in more than 200 locations, Kite said. The program also incorporates a fitness routine, all aimed at helping to reverse the growth of childhood obesity.

Nick Rasmussen, owner of Cross Fit Ogden, put the kids through a fitness relay. Each child had to do push-ups, squats and jumping jacks and run through an obstacle course carrying 10- to 15-pound weights under each arm. He told the students exercise doesn't have to be miserable and can be accomplished by playing sports, playing catch with the dog or running around the block.

Yezli Trinidad completed the course with ease.

"I exercise all the time. I run around a lot and I play soccer," she said. "The weights were heavy but not too bad. I think it's important to exercise, because it makes you strong."

Johan Vasquez said he thought the weights were heavy, but running with them was fun.

"We need to do things to stay healthy," he said. "Some of this is fun. Running is really fun."

 

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