Third-graders learn to eat their ‘greens’

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, November 19, 2008

“Healthy eating is like pieces of a puzzle, with many parts,” Jennifer Eppens explained to the attentive third-graders Friday morning.

Eppens, along with three other Riverland Community College nursing students — Andria Lyden, Deven Leidall and Logan Ollman — taught students in Karla Carroll and Diane Wangen’s Neveln Elementary classes the basics of being healthy and eating right.

In Carroll’s class, more than 20 students burst into exclamations of “Eww!” after they were shown a graphic of human arm muscles.

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Eager to offer their opinions, their arms shot up when asked if they liked a particular food, and groaned in disapproval when told they should probably watch less TV in the morning.

“How many of you don’t like vegetables?” Eppens asked. Only a few hands went up, but when she mentioned a child’s most feared vegetables — spinach and broccoli — the class erupted into more calls of “Eww!”

Students were handed out breakfast recipes and pictures of the food pyramid, and asked to keep food diaries to document how many of the recommended servings they were eating daily: two to three servings each of vegetables, meat/beans and fruit; four to five servings of grains; and three servings of milk.

“Your body is kind of like your parents car — they have to fuel it,” Ollman said.

Carroll said her students responded well to the lessons, the first extensive education in nutrition and healthy living.

She said the presentation was “more of a special lesson, although we do teach some healthy habits.”

“They liked it; I thought they were very good listeners,” Carroll said. “They talked about it afterward.”