Local school teaches healthy eating habits

By Jessica Fashant | gargoyle@flagler.edu

First lady Michelle Obama launched the “Let’s Move” campaign last month, which aims to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation.

The campaign encourages kids to live an active lifestyle, and wants to make school lunches healthier.

Gabrielle Teryek, second-grade teacher at Crookshank Elementary School, already teaches her students about healthy eating. “For our Valentine’s party this year instead of having the usual sugar high, we celebrated how much we love our healthy bodies,” Teryek said. She asked her students to bring in healthy treats such as carrots, apples, oranges, trail mix and celery, and they exercised during the day. “The kids loved the snacks and were really determined not to eat anything unhealthy that day,” Teryek said.

And that’s only the beginning.

Ewa Kolk is another second-grade teacher at Crookshank. She believes that kids lack imagination and prefer to watch television instead of exercising. According to the latest data from the Nielsen Company, children are watching more than 28 hours of television every week. And if you add in all media — video games, cell phones and computers, today’s kids are consuming media seven hours and 38 minutes every day, on average, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“I think as a teacher we have a role in promoting good health and incorporate it into the classroom with nutrition lessons and healthier snacks,” Kolk said. “Cheese and sliced apples go a long way.” She incorporates daily exercise for her students, so during recess they play tag or another game that has them running.

Diane Richardson, a single parent with two children, finds that not buying junk food is an easy way to have kids eat better. She always buys healthy snacks, and it turns out that her kids actually prefer them. “Don’t bring home junk food and they’ll never ask for it,” Richardson said. “It starts at home.” Richardson likes that both of the schools her children attend help them make better eating choices. She also encourages her kids to play outside as often as possible.

Her son, Victor Richardson, 14, attends St. Augustine High School, and according to him, salads are available to students. There also aren’t snacks or soda in vending machines, only water and Gatorade.

Teneshia Richardson, 10, attends Crookshank Elementary School, which sends a letter home every month to show parents what healthy foods will be served for lunch. Teneshia enjoys talking with her mother about which ones to choose. “You have to discuss things like this with your kids because they don’t know any better,” Richardson said. “We need to teach them.”

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