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Maryland elementary school introduces smoothie bar to bolster children's fruit and vegetable intake


Smoothie bar
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https://www.naturalnews.com/048525_smoothie_bar_elementary_school_child_nutrition.html
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(NaturalNews) It's no secret that most children crinkle up their noses at the mere thought of consuming vegetables and some fruits, with plenty of parents often struggling to find ways to get them to eat more greens. However, most children can't be fooled by the game of calling a vegetable by another fun-sounding food name or the age-old trick of hiding healthy foods underneath ones that children desire.

All the while, the notion of getting kids to eat not only is frustrating for parents but is also hurting children's health. In fact, it's estimated that just 22 percent of 2 to 5-year-olds meet the government recommendations for vegetable consumption and that 40 percent of a child's diet is comprised of unhealthy fats and added sugars.

Couple that with children's food marketing efforts in which approximately $2 billion is spent annually by the food and beverage industries, and it's easy to understand children's lack of interest in healthy eating.(1,2)

Maryland elementary school's creative way to get students to eat healthy

However, the principal at a Baltimore, Maryland, school is determined to change this by incorporating a smoothie bar in the school.

That's right. The hip and healthy lifestyle that's often found in trendy locales and embraced in health-conscious households is now a part of the Edgewood Elementary School, which happens to be located in a neighborhood where fresh fruit and vegetable stores are scarce. At the school, principal Kim Sollers encourages her students to eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables, creating excitement by telling them that the "super duper smooth energy center" is available and having them create different smoothie combinations.(3)

The students, who are in the third through fifth grades, not only get to enjoy the smoothies but have the hands-on experience of making the healthy concoctions themselves.

They choose from an array of foods including strawberries, bananas, spinach, almond milk, mangos and chia seeds until they find a tasty blend that they enjoy. The overall reaction among the students has been favorable, including one girl who says that if her mom made smoothies like this at home then her mom would "have [her] in the bag," because she'd definitely be eating the spinach which she typically shies away from.

Another student said she never really eats carrots, and now, she's able to actually taste them.

Health benefits for children who stop eating processed foods

The excitement over eating healthier also pleases nutritionist Sarah Lefkowitz, who was sent to the school by NutriBullet, the company that donated the blenders to Edgewood Elementary School. "The kids are able to incorporate foods that are going to give them fiber, potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants which are really important because you don't find antioxidants in these processed foods that kids are existing off of," she said.(3)

The lack of nutrition that Lefkowitz speaks of in the latter portion of her statement speaks to how children's waistlines are growing while their overall health is stalling.

One study, for example, showed that childhood obesity is linked with the onset of early puberty, which can cause adult-like societal pressures that can lead to premature sex as well as increased rates of uterine and breast cancer due to early exposure to estrogen. Shockingly, in 2010 girls entered puberty at an average age of 10.5, compared to 14.6 in the 1920s. It's thought that the consumption of junk foods and weight gain in childhood is responsible for these shifts.(4)

Hopefully, the idea of smoothie bars in schools catch on, as it's an engaging way for children to learn about making, and more importantly, eating, the healthy foods that many are desperately lacking.

Sources:

(1) http://www.cnn.com

(2) http://preventioninstitute.org

(3) http://www.today.com

(4) http://blogs.naturalnews.com

About the author:
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. >>> Click here to see more by Michelle

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