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Promote good nutrition
Education is about more than just the three Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic. It’s also about the fourth R — re-educating students’ (and adults) palates and broadening their horizons in nutrition.
Two programs happening locally are contributing to a new approach to three square meals a day.
One is the state-sponsored “Confident Cooking the My Plate Way,” a culinary and nutrition training program sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Dairy Council. The other is SNACZ, an acronym meaning “Students Now Advocating to Create (snacking) Zones.”
The “Confident Cooking the My Plate Way” program, which was the focus of a training session at North Powder Elementary School a week ago, teaches food service cooks how to boost the taste and nutrition of lunches. The cooks are learning to prepare new entrees that are low in fat, salt and sugar, the Big 3 bane of the modern American diet.
The program started about four years ago and is connected to the state’s Farm to School program, which strives to get schools to serve as much locally grown food as possible. Students become more aware that they can find fruits and vegetables grown locally rather than shipped in from hundreds and thousands of miles away.
The SNACZ program has seen 32 students from Imbler, Elgin, Cove, Union and North Powder begin specialized training in healthy snacks and nutrition as part of a four-year educational program.
The students are learning to be advocates for healthy snacks, giving them tools to bring their message to peers and parents.
With the health care crisis and childhood obesity being concerns, it’s a good time to promote less fat, salt and sugar and more healthy nutrition.