Healthy Eating at the School
Over the last weeks I have hosted two healthy eating sessions at the boy’s school.
I am very privileged to be allowed the opportunity to pack up boxes of cut up fresh fruit and vegetables and hump them down to the school and share designing with 60 – 100 students over lunch time. I have free reign of a large room with tables and chairs, a sink to wash hands and 4 fabulous parents who volunteer to help. I get to do two sessions a term, one with the older students and one with the younger side of the school.
These sessions have become more popular as word spreads and students know they can come to eat (in their words) “yummy food”. It is fascinating to see the enthusiasm and excitement generated by the opportunity to craft with everything from red cabbage to cress and then eat communally.
One of the parent helpers remarked that they wouldn’t be surprised at the stampede if we were offering chocolate but I think everyone is taken aback (even me to some extent) by the positive reaction to serving only fresh fruit and vegetables . The platters loaded with so many different colours, shapes and textures do look appetising and when given a white plate to design on – it’s all just so tempting.
It proves conclusively to me that fruit and veg can be really exciting to children. Not only do the students love designing food plates but we have virtually no wastage. What the children use to create they also eat (sorry parents who have prepared a big dinner !!). Many students try foods they normally don’t eat or may not have tried before and they do this in a supportive, community setting. It’s amazing how much difference the group environment and general enthusiasm makes.
My two favourite quotes from the sessions must be:
“ I can’t believe how much healthy food I really like”
“ Wow, there is so much yummy food”
I feel that we all need to work harder at providing an environment that is conducive to healthy eating. There are so many communal eating opportunities, especially at this time of the year and there is no reason for these to become the scene of crimes against fresh and natural. Using our imaginations and spending a little extra time can produce dishes that tantalise the senses, whet the appetite and excite the guests. Moreover my sessions at the school prove that if the expectation is that healthy food can be fun, it is!