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Monday, February 10, 2014

The Power of Choice at Bancroft Elementary Part II: No more sugary soda

This winter, DC SCORES intern Kara Dunford is spending her afternoons at Bancroft Elementary School as the Bengals take part in Winter SCORES. Each week, Kara is writing about her experience observing and interacting with the students as they learn about nutrition and healthy eating habits through the Power of Choice curriculum. You can also follow Kara’s observations on Twitter and Instagram by searching #WinterSCORES. View photos on Flickr


Written by Kara Dunford 
Communications Intern

“Why do we sweat?”

The coaches at Bancroft Elementary School posed the question to the group of eager students, who moments before had seen containers of frozen yogurt brought into the classroom. Eyes wide, hands began to shoot up around the room.

It is a question I don’t think too much about as I go about my day to day activities. I paused for a moment and tried to remember my own elementary and middle school science classes, during which the question was undoubtedly answered.

Creative responses were not hard to come by, as the Bengals each posed their own theory as to why they sweat while running on the soccer field.

After a few minutes, the coaches revealed the answer. Sweating is the body’s natural way to cool down, especially after physical activity. When you sweat, you must replace the fluids lost to avoid overheating, dehydration, and fatigue.

“But do we get to eat the ice cream?”

Laughter ensued as one student admitted what he was thinking.

What does all this talk about sweat have to do with nutrition? The Bengals were about to learn how smart beverage choices play a role in a healthy and active lifestyle.

The Bengals split up into four groups and each prepared an orange-flavored drink. One group made orange soda, another low calorie orange soda, the third orange juice with only 10 percent juice, and the last 100 percent orange juice.

I joined the students in their surprise about the amount of sugar in the orange soda choices. As the Bengals poured teaspoon after teaspoon of sugar into the drink mixture, the appeal of the beverage dropped among the group.

The lesson? Paying attention to nutrient labels can help us make beverage choices that will supply vitamin C and calcium rather than calories from added sugars.

Each student shared a strategy to improve his or her drinking habits. One suggested he would cut down on soda and drink more water. Another said she would choose juice from the vending machine instead of Coke.

To arm the students with another alternative to soda, the coaches announced the group would be making juice floats. Prepared with frozen yogurt and fruit juice, the juice floats pack more nutrients and less calories into a delicious drink than popular sodas.

Refreshed by the floats, the Bengals were ready to take another step toward a healthy lifestyle, this time by remembering to choose wisely when thirsty.

Check out the second video installment to learn more about this week’s lesson in healthy hydration. Be sure to follow along on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #winterSCORES.

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