Greeting the Warm Temperatures with a Renewed Commitment to Active Living and Healthy Eating
Postville Elementary students and their family members gathered at school Sunday, April 28 to learn a few lessons in active living, gardening, and healthy eating from members of the school wellness team. The workshop was divided into three interactive and educational sessions, and concluded with a colorful, made-from-scratch dinner.
Research shows that having a family meal over 3 times a week is good for kids! According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, kids who eat meals with their families are more confident, have higher academic performance, and are less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, like alcohol and drugs.
Members of the High School Food and Fit Team led the workshop on active living. Attendees were introduced to the topic with a video entitled “23 ½ Hours” by Dr. Mike, an expert on incorporating physical activity into daily routine. Dr. Mike advocates for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day for such health benefits as reduced rates of obesity, cancer, and cardio-vascular disease. For children, this recommendation is upped to at least 60 minutes a day. High school students wrapped up this session with a rousing game of family-friendly kick ball.
Teresa Wiemerslage, the NE Iowa Program Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, started out the healthy eating session with an introduction to the Local Food Box program.
The local food box is based on the popular Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. The idea is that individuals buy a weekly local food box in order to support the local community. Members of the local food box program receive a variety of great tasting local fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, and eggs at great prices. The contents of the local food box will vary with the changes of the season.
Says Wiemerslage, “I enjoy connecting people to their food. I like to talk to people about the farmers who are growing and producing local food products in NE Iowa. Local food is a great way to support your farming neighbors and your community.”
As part of the healthy eating session, FoodCorps service member Elizabeth Makarewicz led kids and their parents in making smoothies with a one-of-a-kind bicycle blender. This blender, constructed by members of the Waukon High School shop class, is 100% pedal-powered. Smoothies made by the bicycle blender were held back for dinner.
The third Spring Fling session allowed parents some insight into the school’s garden club program for third through sixth grade students. Garden club volunteer Mary Koopman gave workshop participants an introduction to the school garden through pictures, and then Judy Egeland showed families how to make seed tape, a useful tool for planting seeds that are too small for tiny fingers to grasp. Cici Mueller rounded out the session with some tips on gardening on a small scale.
After workshop rotations finished, families gathered in the cafeteria for a rainbow-themed dinner. Students filled out “Rainbow Passports”, indicating which colors of the rainbow were represented on their trays in the form of fruits and vegetables. Salads were topped off with homemade salad dressings made by members of the High School Food and Fit team.
Says Food Service Director and workshop organizer, Laurie Smith about the dinner, “Seeing all the different veggies to use on a salad is an eye opener! And, they all taste good! [I also enjoyed] seeing the families enjoying their rainbow salad and eating together!”
Many thanks to all workshop organizers and the High School Food and Fit Team for making this event a huge success! Special thanks also goes out to our sponsors: Beauty Hut, The Bowling Alley, Brick Oven, Country View Dairy, Dr. Roger Kolarich, Drahos & Senft, Enyart Dairy, Gricke Law Office, Hall Roberts & Sons, Fidelity Bank, Freedom Bank, Guppys On the Go, Mary Koopman, Moores IGA, NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, Possibilities, Pick a Better Snack program, Postville Co-op, Tindells, Postville Vet Clinic, Reggies Auto Body, Silken Expressions, The Herald, The Headquarters, Thirty One, Sandies, Subway, Szabo Construction, the YMCA, and Walmart.