Rayen middle schoolers get lesson on healthier snacks

By Amanda Tonoli



Students served smoothies at Rayen Early College Middle School to promote healthful eating.

Choffin Career and Technical Center’s culinary arts students taught middle-school students the importance of putting holistic, healthy foods in their bodies and how to make them.

The program’s goal is to show students how to make “a healthy alternative snack,” said Tricia Goodnough, Choffin culinary arts instructor.

“The importance in teaching healthy cooking practices is to change how [students] eat now so when they’re older they won’t have as many health problems,” she said.

Students practiced making smoothies with frozen berries, a banana, Greek yogurt, orange juice and honey.

The honey, Goodnough explained, sweetens the smoothies without adding sugar.

“Something as simple and as fun as this smoothie can replace breakfast for these kids,” she said.

Nate’ Austin, a Choffin senior, enjoys making an impact on younger students.

“[Eating healthier] has more of an effect on [younger] students than on us now,” she said. “They can have a chance to be more healthy in the future.”

Choffin senior Ashley Douglas agreed with Nate’.

“As a student [both at Choffin and at Rayen], you get a lot of experience from different people as to how to eat healthier,” she said.

Ashley and Nate’ said they both try to eat more healthful foods at home now that they have the skills necessary to do so.

Deajza Smith, Rayen seventh-grader, thought it was “cool” to eat different foods.

“It’s cool to be learning better ways to cook things rather than just using sugar and bad stuff for you,” she said.

The healthy cooking program Choffin students present to Rayen students is funded by a $20,000 five-year Project Ignite Grant through the Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County.

“Grants like these are so nice because the community gets to help set standards how they want this program to be rolled out,” said Beth Stefura, OSU Extension educator.

In addition to teaching healthful eating practices, Stefura said students learned physical exercises.

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