A healthy initiative took place for South Bend’s youth during summer break
Nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight according to the CDC, but many are unaware that having a well-balance diet is extremely important to their proper growth and development. Giving kids an understanding of what healthy foods are and allowing them to experience them is also extremely important. When children understand what healthy foods are, experience them, and take that knowledge home impacts their future well-being.
Armed with that knowledge and staggering statistics, dietitian Mayelin Lora-Williams of St. Joseph Hospital and Amanda Yasko, South Bend Venues Parks & Arts Wellness Coordinator teamed up to create a new initiative, “Eat Like a Champion”. Within the Charles Black and Martin Luther King Jr. Community Centers, 25 – 50 kids met for 1.5 hours of a 6-week period.
We were able to get donations from 4 different sources to pay for the food and supplies needed which was helpful to the success of the program, said Amanda Yasko.
Food and supplies help demonstrate what it means to eat healthy but also have fun with food. The six-week curriculum helped kids understand the importance of make healthier choices, being mindful of screen time, getting solid sleep and more.
Week 1: MyPlate
Kids learned the importance of eating a variety of foods at each meal and making healthy choices
Week 2: Slow, Whoa, and Go Foods
Learning what nutritious foods should be eaten daily, eaten once or twice a week, and those foods that should be eaten sparingly.
Week 3: Slow, Whoa, and Go Drinks
Learning what beverages are full of sugar, what that does to the body, and the importance of drinking water.
Week 4: Healthy Breakfast
Kids learned the importance of a healthy breakfast and made overnight oats to take home.
Week 5: Living like a Champion
Learning how to be mindful, limit screen time, and get plenty of sleep.
Week 6: Celebration Day
Kids made black bean and corn tacos (which they loved!) and firefighters came out to run an obstacle course. Jump ropes were handed out to every child thanks to a donation from Erskine Commons Chick-Fil-A.
Learning to eat a variety of foods was another key component. Kids also munched on peppers with humus, apples with peanut butter and almonds, and Greek yogurt.
Teaching our youth healthy eating is imperative to their future success. It doesn’t just set them up for a brighter future – it’s a lifestyle that can be taught to their families and future generations to come.