Marie, Marcelin (mother of Claudermelle, Marcelin) discusses the Real Kids Real Food program, especially about how the program’s benefits impacted her healthy eating behavior.
For week 2 we enlisted help from the rainbow. This is a fun and helpful way to thinking of food.
If we remember correctly the rainbow colors can be memorized by the following acronym – ROY G BIV. Defined as Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
So let’s take a trip down this colorful road – and hold tight we have a surprise color at the end.
Let’s begin with the red. Red is for a healthy heart and as such we can associate it with cranberries, radishes, red peppers, rhubarb, watermelon, strawberries, and red apples. The most common vegetable is the tomato. These red fruits and vegetables lower the risk of some cancers and support heart, memory, and urinary tract health.
Moving down the rainbow we come across the Orange and Yellow section. The following fruits and vegetables offer protection from some types of cancer and may improve night vision: mangoes, squash, peaches, papaya, pineapples, cantaloupe, and butternut squash. Along with being very delicious, they promote a healthy immune system.
Green is our next yummy color. This color incorporates everything from kiwi, cucumbers, Celery, broccoli to green apples and cabbage. In order to grow strong, healthy bones these are needed as part of a healthy diet.
The last part of the rainbow is (BIV) Blue, Indigo, and Violet. As a result, you will find a varying degree of ‘Blue’ in our foods in this section. Blueberries, blackberries, grapes, raisins, plums, eggplants, and prunes are a good fit for this category. This part of the rainbow improves memory, reduces the likelihood of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
We cannot ignore the many fruits and vegetables that are white. Admittedly, the color white is not in the rainbow. So let us pretend white is the invisible layer after the last color. In this section, we will find yummy bananas, brown pear’s, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, and onions. These will help lower cholesterol and promote a healthy heart.
The students are making zucchini pasta with marinara sauce.
IN WEEK 3 AT THE REAL KIDS REAL FOOD PROGRAM, WE EXPLORE THE REASONS BEHIND EATING LOCALLY AND SEASONALLY.
(Marie Marcellin on the left and her daughter, Claudermelle Gemini, follow this weeks recipe while Jewel Montini measures the Nama Shoyu (organic, fermented, raw soy sauce).
The following recommendations will help you and your children – or anyone for that matter – eat locally and seasonally.
It’s important to understand the reasoning behind eating locally and seasonally. To begin, it follows nature’s pattern. Fruits and vegetables reach their nutritional peak when they need to be harvested. They also reach their flavor peak. Additionally, it is more affordable and better for your community’s economy – think less gas to ship those vegetables and fruits to your market.
Pro-tips: Kale can be used year round. Farmers’ markets will often have samples set out for customer. This a good way to get your kids to try new things. 🙂
Here are recommendations for each season with a mixture of fun and delicious vegetables and fruits:
Real Kids Real Food provides a real family learning experience for Kim Rodriguez who comes with her 10-year-old son, Jacob Rodriguez, and her sons who are teaching assistants, Darien (age 16) and Chris (age 20).
I’ve learned that I love guacamole and should try more foods to see if I like them
I’ve also learned some ways to distress and that it can damage your health if you have too much stress.
Lastly, I’ve learned how different fruits and vegetables affect your body.
I learned that avocado is a good fat and donuts are a bad fat.
REAL KIDS LEARN WHAT STRESS IS AND UNDERSTAND EFFECTS OF STRESS BY ACTING OUT STRESSFUL SCENARIOS IN SMALL GROUPS,
AND HAVE THE REST OF GROUP IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF STRESS
HOW DOES STRESS AFFECT YOU?
Claudermelle says, “it makes me grumpy, and hurts the people I love.”
Darien says, “people who are stressed can have a stroke. Stress hurts their brain and makes them forget things.”
Marie says, “I eat a lot.”
How do you manage stress?
“I clear my schedule and sleep”
“I take deep breaths”
“I take a bubble bath”
“I close my eyes”
“I make a list of what is stressing me and figure it out”
“It tastes like a rainbow!” exclaimed 9 year old Carlos. His smile, framed by a green mustache from his freshly-made kale, strawberry, banana smoothie, broadened in delight. “Think it might be good with spinach too?”
Carlos and his family lived in Mystic Public Housing, a low-income housing development with a great after-school program. With limited funds, they relied on cheap, starch-based foods to keep them full, but not energized.
“I was always tired so my mom took me to the doctor,” Carlos explained. “When the doctor told us what was wrong, she couldn’t stop crying.” The pediatrician discovered that Carlos was pre-diabetic and was at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, Carlos attended Real Kids Real Food at the Mystic Learning Center for one hour a week. There he got the chance to learn how to prepare food while playing games and expanding his understanding of good nutrition.
“You should see the things I can make now!” Carlos says proudly. “Linguini with marinara sauce is fun—especially making the noodles out of zucchini.” When it was most vital to his health, Carlos learned to love preparing fresh healthy meals, coming home from Real Kids Real Food each week with nutrition tips and recipes, eager to expand his family’s knowledge of healthy eating. Together they learned how green vegetables could help change his prognosis and where they could procure affordable or free vegetables.
Three months later at his next doctor’s appointment, Carlos heard the good news. “All my tests came back clear, and the doctor said I was really healthy!” Carlos beamed. “My mom cried again, but because she was so happy this time.”
Carlos’s success resulted from his mother and his participation in the Real Kids Real Food Program at the Mystic Learning Center in Somerville. This year’s program, funded by The Staples Foundation, Real Kids Real Food Pre-Teen Program – A Fight Against Obesity and Diabetes in Children directly impacts the reversal of the shocking national trends towards obesity and childhood diabetes. In its fifth successful year, 40 Pre-Teens (ages 8-12) and 20 of their will enjoy hands-on activities regarding nutrition, local and organic food, gardening, grocery shopping, planning and preparing meals, with the ultimate goal of learning how to achieve and continue an overall healthy lifestyle. The program broadens their exposure to making healthy choices with attention to affordability and incorporates physical activities and parent involvement throughout the year. OHS has piloted this program in other public housing environments with measurable success. To learn more, please view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6qjJVPadXI&list=UU87o7krFAdv4L5Ln_kl4Hmg
Thanks to the Staples Foundation for its $5,000 funding for youth to explore teaching careers, OHS is considering a number of applicants for the Teaching Assistant Position of Real Kids Real Food Preteen/ Parents Program (including past graduates of the program). OHS and Mystic Learning Center are looking forward to supporting 40 pre teens (ages 8-12) and 20 of their parents in their pursuit of a sustainable healthy lifestyle from January 9th- March 20th 2018. We are currently pursuing additional funding from neighborhood supermarkets to provide the groceries for program. Last year’s cost of ingredients catered to only twenty participants and we are excited to be expanding to sixty participants this year!
We are currently seeking volunteers to take the Teaching Assistants (2) to the supermarket and mentor them on how to select affordable, organic, ripe produce in preparation for the lessons on Tuesdays from 3pm to 6pm. If interested, please contact Betsy by writing to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling her at (617)835-2913.
If you are looking for a way to get more involved, join Optimum Health Solution in changing children’s futures one meal at a time by launching Real Kids Real Food in an after-school program in your community. For two hours a week over the course of ten weeks, children are given an invaluable education about nutrition, mindfulness, exercise, and overall health that will last them a lifetime. You can help make real change in the lives of the children who need it most. Feel free to contact Betsy by writing to her at email@example.com or calling her at (617)835-2913 for ideas, tips, and advice about how to start Real Kids Real Food in your community.
Optimum Health Solution has joined the effort to combat childhood obesity by creating the Real Kids Real Food Club after-school program for low income children ages 5-14.
Real Kids Real Food inspires children to eat plant-based, organic living foods by growing and preparing their own food. Each student walks away from their weekly, after-school club with a new recipe and the self-confidence to create it at home, thus involving family members in their process. The children experience the seed-to-plant-to-fruit cycle over the school year by studying the biology and chemistry of soil and how the environment affects food growth. Visual arts, music and literature are utilized to support children’s different learning styles.
After graduating as a Health Educator from the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, FL, Betsy Bragg became the Executive Director of Optimum Health Solution (OHS), a non-profit, in Waltham, MA. Real Kids Real Food germinated when Betsy decided to help curb childhood obesity and malnutrition by teaching to children to make healthy choices. She shared her goals with the adult students enrolled in her 10-week “Eat to Thrive” class, and they immediately volunteered to facilitate the program.
The initial program, a 30-credit, teacher-training course, was launched at the Martin Luther King, Jr., School (K-8) in Dorchester, MA. Subsequently, at the Elizabeth Peabody House in Somerville, MA, the curriculum evolved into an after-school program. This year, thanks to a generous grant from the Somerville Health Foundation, OHS will be providing the Real Kids Real Food experience to students as part of the Mystic Learning Center’s after-school program.
WE WOULD LIKE TO GIVE A BIG THANKS TO ALL OF OUR FRIENDS OF REAL KIDS REAL FOOD