Rainbow Day! A Special School Wellness Program to Teach Kids About Healthy Eating
|March 18, 2013||Posted by Stacy under School wellness programs|
While we haven’t had much success tackling the junk food problem at my first grader’s school (SEE: Taking a Stand Against Junk Food and Please Stop Feeding My Kids Junk Food at School!), this year has brought some very positive changes in terms of food education. Thanks to an incredible organization called Nurture Your Family and the support of our school principal and parent volunteers, we were able to introduce monthly Food & Fun classes, a combo of kid friendly nutrition lessons and food tastings, to the fifth grade (with the intent of expanding them to the rest of the school next year). And last week, we held our first annual Rainbow Day, a school-wide celebration of eating the colors of the rainbow.
With the help of Nurture, parent volunteers and donations from a local food co-op, we made rainbow smoothies made of berries, cherries, bananas, spinach, carrots, and yogurt for 450 elementary school (K through 5) students. The different grades came to the smoothie stations (set up in the school lobby) one by one or had their drinks delivered to their classrooms. We were blending like crazy!
Throughout the day, a nutrition educator from Nurture visited all the different classrooms to present a 15-minute lesson on where food comes from and eating from the rainbow.
Our rainbow smoothie recipe was displayed at each smoothie station and also sent home in the kids’ folders so they could make them at home.
Food service pitched in by cooking up some rainbow colored potatoes and creating a rainbow salad bar.
Every student who either tried the rainbow smoothie or three colors from the rainbow salad bar got a Today I Ate a Rainbow sticker.
To generate excitement for the event, fifth grade students made Rainbow Day posters that were displayed around the school. Each grade was assigned to wear a different rainbow color. (My first grader was so pumped that he picked out his blue shirt the night before.). We decorated the smoothie stations with rainbow colored paper and balloons (donated by a local store). And the school principal got in the spirit by wearing a rainbow wig, causing the kids to break out in giggles.
Based on the kids’ reactions and feedback from teachers and parents, I’d have to say that Rainbow Day was a big hit. Almost all the kids tasted the rainbow in one form or another. As I blended smoothies and handed out cups, I saw some tentative looks but heard mostly “Yummy” and not one single “Yuck.” In the days following the event, several moms told me that their kids have requested rainbow smoothies at home. And I’ve been whipping them up in my kitchen, too.
But I think what pleased me most of all was how the school (administrators, teachers, and staff), parents, local organizations and students came together to make this event happen. A lot of people pitched in by contributing their time, donating food or supplies, or loaning a blender. To me, it shows that many recognize how important it is to teach kids about healthy eating. Now, if we could just do something about all those darn cupcakes in the classroom.
Has your school hosted a special event like Rainbow Day to promote healthy eating? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Please give the details in the comments section below!