Wellness program helps city kids eat healthier in school

June 25, 2012 1:32:43 PM PDT
Trying to convince kids to try something new at the dinner table can be easier said than done. But now New York City Schools are slowly winning students over once taste bud at a time with a new culinary curriculum. It not only gets them to try new and healthy foods, they are liking it for the most part. First graders at PS 11 in Manhattan are mastering cooking skills for their health.

They whip up salad dressing and some have already learned how to "talk the talk."

The program is called "Wellness in the Schools" and is in more than 30 city schools.

The food is farm fresh to teach students about the importance of eating locally.

"It's ultimately to get children and families to rethink and change their way of thinking about the way they are eating and getting active in life and that they understand the impact of their diet on their being," said Nancy Easton, Executive Director of Wellness in School.

Each school is required to form a wellness committee that meets once a month.

The culinary expertise comes from trained chefs who work side by side with the cafeteria staff.

They also head into the classroom to teach about healthy eating.

And the foods they eat here then becomes part of the official cafeteria menu so they see and eat the same foods all year round.

The food and supplies are donated but the program still costs $25,000 a school. Easton says schools that serve low income neighborhoods with poverty level 70 percent of higher can quote pay what they can other schools have to pay that stipend in full.

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