Sudduth students get healthy food demo

Students at Sudduth Elementary put fruit onto plastic skewers at a healthy eating program given by MUW Culinary Arts Institute staff as part of Project CHEW and Passport to Wellness. The students had fruit kebabs with vanilla yogurt and granola and vegetables with Greek yogurt ranch dressing made with a “secret spice mix.” (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
Staff Writer

Two classes at Sudduth Elementary got to learn about healthy eating and enjoy some special treats while doing so. The program was part of the Mississippi University for Women Culinary Arts Institute Project CHEW (Cook Healthy Eat Well) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Passport to Wellness Program at MUW.

The demo was funded with grant money from Passport to Wellness. “We introduced the children to eating a rainbow,” said MUW Chef Instructor Mary Helen Hawkins. “We exposed them to things that they possibly have not normally eaten, so we encourage them by using the rainbow colors to try new things.”

The students made fruit kebabs with vanilla yogurt and granola and tried vegetables dipped in Greek yogurt ranch dressing made with a “secret spice mix.”

“We know at this age they’re forming their food habits, so the earlier we can introduce them to the healthy foods, the easier it will be for those habits to stick with them for the rest of their life,” said MUW nutritionist Amanda Dahl.

First grade teacher Debbie McLaurin said in addition to encourage students to make healthy choices, the program would encourage the students to try new foods. “I just can’t afford to buy something like that for my class to taste,” McLaurin said. “We’ll have some parties, and I can do some yogurt and granola, but fruits are expensive, and to pay for enough to go around for 20 kids.”

Along with special education teacher Kellye Woodard, McLaurin attended the Passport to Wellness Summer Wellness Institute at MUW over the summer. “I loved it,” Woodard said. “We learned lots of different skills to help our children in the classrooms in regards to implementing exercise into our lesson plan and into the daily instruction time, how it’s proven to be something that helps kids learn more.”

At the end of the event, students were given chef’s hats and aprons to take home. “They really had a ball,” McLaurin said.