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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Healthy & Happy at Marie Reed, Part III: Lessons learned from Winter SCORES

As a part of the winter season with DC SCORES, intern Kristen Miano is spending some time with the Marie Reed Panthers as they learn about healthy eating and healthy living. Kristen is writing about her experience being in the classroom with the students as they grow in their understanding of how to live healthier and happier lives through better nutrition and active lifestyles. You can follow Kristen and her observations on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr.


Written by Kristen Miano
Digital Media Intern

The last nutrition class for the Marie Reed Panthers took an overarching look at the entire season by asking the students a very basic question: Where does our food come from?

Starting off simply, nutrition teacher Carolyn Brandt asked the class where meat comes from.

“Animals!” was the resounding answer.

But there was more to the answer, though. We can eat two different kinds of animal products: meat and other items that come from animals.

“What comes from animals that we don’t need to kill the animals for?” asked Ms. Brandt.

“Tofu!” was one, emphatic answer.

Other correct answers included milk, eggs, cheese and the spectrum of dairy products.

The discussion then moved on to plant-based foods, like all the fruits and vegetables the class had learned about during the six-week season. Though most whole fruits and vegetables are easily identified as plants, it was important to note that most are different parts of the plant. For example, a potato is a plant root, but celery is a plant stem. Broccoli is a flower, while spinach is a leaf.

Next, the students divided into two teams -- boys versus girls -- to test their knowledge. Whenever the teacher held up a picture of a food, the teams were told to act out where the food came from to score points. For example, if the food came from an animal, the entire team needed to flap their arms like a chicken. If the food came from a plant, the team had to wave their hands like leaves on a tree. Though each team did extremely well, the girls’ team won the game by a single point.

Snack during the final week was a little different than usual. The “tasting” snack was designed to reinforce one of the main themes of the entire season: Trying new foods can be fun. Each student got to try a sample of a new, healthy food from a variety of options, including rice cakes, hummus, blueberries, yogurt raisins, sunflower seeds and baby carrots.

Despite initial protests that the hummus “looked gross” and that the rice cakes “aren’t rice krispie treats,” many of the students enjoyed the snack so much, they came back for seconds.

As the Winter SCORES season wrapped up its final nutrition class, the students took a moment to reflect on what they learned.

“I learned that we need good nutrition and that there are different kinds of food groups,” said Mamadou D., age 10, “We should eat healthy foods and be careful of what we eat.”

Jacqueline W., age 9, said she learned it was important to read nutrition labels, especially when it comes to checking a food’s fat content.

“I can eat healthy by eating lots of vegetables,” she added. “Also, fruits and dairy are healthy too.”

Overall, the Marie Reed Panthers are walking away from Winter SCORES with a better understanding of how to lead happier and healthier lives by picking the right foods to eat. The lessons they’ve learned are important for health now, will help them be better soccer players this spring season, and most importantly will continue to benefit them as they grow and learn beyond this season.


Previous series blogs
Part I
Part II

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