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Students from Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School prepare their peach salsa entry in the snack-off competition hosted by the Network for a Healthy California–Los Angeles Unified School District, Friday, June 12, 2009 in Los Angeles. The Network encourages students to eat more fruits and vegetables and be active every day. From left, Kendra Lewis, Aalayla Orozco, Jaydien Mcintosh and Carolina Colmenares. –Photo/Network For a Healthy California–LAUSD, Susan Goldman.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) held its second student-led snack-off recipe competition. This year’s featured produce item–peaches! The adrenalin was pumping, the competition was fierce and the recipes–they were not only creative, but healthy and delicious, too.C
The snack-off competition is the official kick-off to the Network’s annual Nutrition Advisory Councils (NACs) Symposium, an event that brings together a diverse group of 100 low-income students from around the district–from South Los Angeles to the Valley. This year’s competition included students from Flournoy and Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary Schools. During the day, the students participated in workshops and other activities designed to help them learn new and innovative ways to empower their fellow classmates to eat healthy and be more active. It’s always an exciting and informative event that gives these young kids the tools and training they need to be nutrition education and physical activity leaders in their schools.
During the event, approximately 100 low-income LAUSD students met to learn new and innovative ways to empower their peers to form healthy eating habits and be more physically active as a means to better health. Students also took part in a fruit and vegetable recipe competition, preparing unique and healthy snacks. The judging panel was led by Mark Langill, Los Angeles Dodgers historian.
NACs are student-led groups that give members the opportunity to be nutrition education leaders by empowering their classmates to eat more fruits and vegetables and be physically active every day. NAC members lead a variety of activities at their school sites, including organizing produce tasting and samplings, creating healthy fundraising strategies and speaking one-on-one with their peers about the benefits of good nutrition and physical activity.
Peer pressure can be one of the strongest influences on students when they make food choices. Through the NAC program, children become nutrition education leaders at their school and are given an opportunity to spread positive messages about the importance of healthy eating habits and physical activity to their peers. The Network for a Healthy California-LAUSD is funded by the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program) through the Network for a Healthy California.
The Network for a Healthy California-LAUSD (Network) works with more than 9,300 teachers, school nurses and other school personnel to integrate nutrition education into LAUSD classroom curriculum and other school activities. They promote positive, healthy attitudes towards fruits, vegetables and physical activity for pre-K-12th grade students in an effort to reverse the rising obesity epidemic facing our district youth. The program is a collaborative effort between students, teachers, food service professionals, school nurses, parents, administrators, corporate partners and community members.
Since each school community has different strengths and resources, the Network is designed to empower every school to create learning opportunities unique to their needs. The Network offers a variety of educational programs and activities schools can choose from, including in-classroom tastings and samplings, school health fairs, student-led nutrition groups, in-classroom visits by professional chefs and local farmers, and the creation of colorful murals on school campuses that promote fruits and vegetables. In addition, we offer programs that work directly with parents to educate them about healthy eating and active living, and resources that can help them pay for fruits and vegetables.
NACs are student-led groups whose members work to empower their classmates to make healthy, active living a priority. Through student-to-student nutrition education, NAC members teach other students about the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables and being physically active every day.
There are many ways NACs spread healthy messages to their peers, families and communities. Some NACs paint posters that promote fruits and vegetables and then display them around the school campus. Other NACs talk about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables during morning announcements or set up produce tasting and sampling opportunities during recess or parent meetings. There are NACs that create nutrition-based newsletters and perform fruit and vegetable songs at school recitals. There are no set activities–NACs have the freedom to design programs and events they believe will have the greatest impact on students and community members.
For more information, visit www.healthylausd.net