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Taft students play with food

Taft students learn about healthful eating
Published: 5/13/16 @ 12:05


By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Taft Elementary School students Kalvin Smith, Malaki Rivers, Skylar Pierce and Quintana Perry helped their schoolmates select healthful snack choices.

The students played Super Star Snack Attack as part of FoodPlay, a national award-winning show.

The program emphasizes the importance of healthful eating with music, dancing and juggling mixed in to keep children’s attention.

In the program, Coach, portrayed by 2015 Kent State University graduate Scott Miesse, leads the National Junior Juggling Team, and tries to teach Janey – who aspires to join the team – the importance of healthful food choices. Janey is played by Alicia Thomas of New York City.

“Our bodies are made completely out of the foods we eat,” Coach said.

Janey comes to practice without breakfast and wants to gorge on junk food.

“There are go foods, and there are whoa foods,” Coach explains.

An apple is an example of a go food.

A packaged apple pie is a whoa food. It starts out as an apple, its skin is discarded and sugar, salt, fat and preservatives are added.

“By the time it comes out of the factory, it’s a whoa food,” Coach said.

Sugar gives you energy fast, “but it’s the kind of energy that doesn’t last.”

Janey comes around and by the end of the show, she gives Kalvin, Malaki, Skylar and Quintana FoodPlay Fruit and Veggie Tracker Bands.

Each child is encouraged to eat five fruits and vegetables per day and to keep track by moving a band from one wrist to the other to count them.

Coach and Janey tell the children to take the FoodPlay 5 Challenge: Eat at least five fruits and vegetables per day; read food labels on packaged foods before eating them; fuel up with three square meals per day; remember “I can do this and you can 2”; and play for at least an hour per day.

Susan Paris, food-service director at the city schools, said the district receives a grant to offer students fruits and vegetables.

“The grant has requirements that we incorporate educational aspects in the schools,” she said.

The department brings in speakers and offers assemblies to fulfill those requirements.

A feature such as FoodPlay makes it fun, Paris said.

FoodPlay Productions was founded in 1982 by Barbara Storper, a nutritionist. Since then, more than 4 million children across the country have seen it. It has won many awards, including an Emmy when a version appeared on television.


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