Professor Helen Bateman (a developmental psychologist at the University of the South) and her students have created this program with the goals of helping children learn about the benefits of healthy eating and exercise and helping children acquire the skills to make healthier life-style choices. The program is designed for students in grades 3-8.
We visit students during their after-school program (4-6 times per school year) and we provide them with nutrition information and hands-on activities with foods, games, and exercise. Each lesson lasts anywhere from 60-80 minutes. During the first part of the lesson (approximately 30-40 minutes), students learn useful information about nutrition and food, and get to taste and create healthy and tasty snacks. During the second part of the lesson students learn how to exercise and have fun playing sports.
The Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds Team
In addition to Dr. Bateman and Sewanee students, our Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds team includes a chef, who teaches students and parents how to prepare healthy food that is tasty, local farmers, who provide advice on how to grow vegetables and fruits and how to locate, prepare, and eat seasonal local produce, and student athlete volunteers, who teach students how to play sports and inspire them to eat right and exercise.
TAKE HOME MATERIALS
In addition to tasting healthy foods, learning about nutrition, and exploring fun ways to exercise, students also receive small prizes throughout the year (such as jumping ropes, pencils, erasers, etc.). Other take-home materials may include laminated MyPlate placemats that children color and personalize.
Throughout our after-school program we provide students with recipes, lesson updates, and, on occasion, small sample items of seasonal veggies and fruits (locally grown whenever possible) to take home and try with their parents. In late spring (at the end of the program) we provide students with tomato plants to take home and grow over the summer.
In addition, we have activities for students and parents, such as an invitation to our “Chef’s Cooking Lesson,” in which parents and students get to watch a real chef prepare tasty southern specialties in lighter versions (and sample the food). We also have our “Bring Us Your Recipe Day,” in which families send us their favorite recipe and we figure out a way to make a lighter version.
OPTIONAL SCHOOL VEGETABLE GARDEN
We provide schools with the opportunity for students to start their own vegetable garden located on the school grounds, and to learn about fruits and vegetables by helping to grow them. We facilitate this by providing materials, advice, and experts in the field (for example a local farmer).
OPTIONAL FIELD TRIP
During the spring we provide students with the opportunity to take a field trip to the University of the South campus where they get to visit our vegetable and fruit gardens, play sports taught by our athletes, watch demonstrations of healthy cooking by our university chef, hike, and tour the campus.
We are happy to collaborate with teachers, schools, and school districts to help raise awareness of issues related to helping children adapt a healthier life style, to raise funds, and to acquire grants that make this possible.