If you’ve been following wishfit over the past few months, you might have noticed that raising healthy kids is, oh, just a tad important to me. If you need a little reminder, check out these posts here, here, here, here and here.
Since my boys have started school and sports, I’m even more shocked and frightened by what constitutes “normal” food for kids. Just because Smucker’s sells Uncrustables doesn’t mean you have to buy them! And for crying out loud, does a bunch of six-year-old boys really need big ‘ol chocolate donuts as a snack after their soccer game? Uh, no.
That’s why I’m so excited to be part of an organization like LiveWell Colorado. In particular, my new role as a LiveWell Mom feels like a perfect fit. It’s also why the issue of school lunches is currently on my radar.
Here’s a photo of me and some other LiveWell friends at the luncheon.
Luckily, I’m able to send Garrett to school with a healthy lunch (that he actually eats), but not all parents have that luxury due to time or money constraints. In fact, according to the USDA, in 2010 more than 31.7 million kids received a meal through the National School Lunch Program each day. (If you’re not familiar with the program, you can find more information here.) That’s a lot of kids eating what may be their best meal of the day, at school. And a questionable meal it is, despite efforts on both national and local levels to make improvements.
Last week I had the pleasure of celebrating one such effort, when I attended LiveWell Colorado’s Fundraising Luncheon. As I mentioned here, the luncheon was also an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the EatWell@School Cooking Competition. For nine weeks, volunteer chef mentors worked with students from Manual High School, Bruce Randolph High School, KIPP Denver Collegiate High School and Martin Luther King Jr. Early College. Students learned valuable cooking skills and developed a lunch menu which met the following requirements:
- ingredients must be available through Denver Public Schools procurement process
- meals must include at least one ingredient that is grown, baked or produced in Colorado
- each meal must cost $0.90 or less
- each meal must be between 750–800 calories per meal
Manual High School was named the winner, with their menu of cheesy chicken pasta bake with vegetable ragu, spinach and carrot muffin with carrot sticks, and a fruit and yogurt parfait. Guess what? It was really good.
The other good part? Hearing one of the student chefs say she enjoyed the experience because she learned how to make food she actually likes. Shocker of all shocks: healthy food can actually taste great! Clearly this is a message that needs spreading, and competitions like this are a creative way to expose kids to nutritious meal-planning–something another student chef called, “skills to use in the future.”
For more ideas about healthy living (whether you live in Colorado or not), visit LiveWell Colorado.
Btw, I’m not an employee of LiveWell Colorado, nor am I being paid for anything I’m sharing with you. Wellness is my passion, and LiveWell is just a fabulous resource for that passion.