Staples teams up with FoodPlay to turn kids on to healthy habits

Chartwells School Dining Services presented FoodPlay to celebrate healthy eating at Samuel Staples Elementary School. Shown are Jordan Phillips (FoodPlay’s “Johnny Junkfood”), David Kennedy (Chartwells school food service director), Linda Tardif ( FoodPlay’s “Juggling Team Coach”), Tom O’Donnell, regional director of operations, Chartwells, and Molly Basak-Smith, resident dietitian for Chartwells.

Chartwells School Dining Services presented FoodPlay to celebrate healthy eating at Samuel Staples Elementary School. Shown are Jordan Phillips (FoodPlay’s “Johnny Junkfood”), David Kennedy (Chartwells school food service director), Linda Tardif ( FoodPlay’s “Juggling Team Coach”), Tom O’Donnell, regional director of operations, Chartwells, and Molly Basak-Smith, resident dietitian for Chartwells.

Having trouble getting your kids to eat their fruits and veggies, get off the couch, and turn off the computer games?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of the nation’s youth will develop diabetes if current eating and exercise habits don’t improve.

A partnership with Chartwells K12 School Dining Services recently brought FoodPlay to Samuel Staples Elementary. The national award-winning theater show features juggling, music, magic, and audience participation to turn kids on to healthy eating and active living.

Woven into the performance are serious lessons that teach kids about the importance of healthy eating and active living, inspiring them to adopt nutritious diets and active lifestyles.

Schools around the country are working to meet the challenge — by creating school-wide wellness policies, updating school lunch and breakfast menus to offer more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and incorporating more physical activity opportunities throughout the school day.

FoodPlay makes good eating great fun, but its messages are serious. In the last 25 years, childhood obesity rates have doubled among elementary school children and tripled among teenagers.

One in three children is overweight, and less than 2% of the nation’s youth are meeting their daily nutritional requirements. Kids are consuming more than 150 pounds of sugar a year, missing out on recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains needed for optimal health.

During FoodPlay’s performance, children watch as Janey Junkfood desperately tries to make the National Junior Juggling Team. The problem — her poor eating habits. As FoodPlay unfolds, children are empowered with the consumer skills needed to make sense of a confusing food marketplace.

They learn how to see through TV commercials, decipher food labels, and “read it before you eat it.” Teachers come away with new insights too, as many adults don’t realize that ingredients are listed on food labels in order by weight, with the main ingredient listed first.

Kids are alarmed to see how much sugar is found in many of their favorite foods from 10 teaspoons of sugar in a can of soda, to sugar being a main ingredient in a popular sports drink.

For more information, visit ChartwellsK12.com.

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