Meramec Elementary School students and staff have shown this year that they are up for the MyPlate Challenge! The school, led by Nurse Caren Etling, is working its way through the different food challenges, which encourage healthy eating and physical activity through friendly competition. Starting with the Cowabunga Cow Challenge, students learned about the dairy section of MyPlate. During October, students placed a “spot” on their cow for each serving of dairy or dairy equivalent they consumed.
Following the dairy challenge, Meramec moved on to learn more about the servings of fruits and vegetables needed in a healthy diet. The school challenged Glenridge Elementary and Steger Sixth Grade Center in the Webster Groves School District to see which school could reach 800 servings of fruits and vegetables the fastest. Meramec earned first place in the challenge, followed by Glenridge in second. Etling plans to lead the school through the rest of the MyPlate Challenges this school year, focusing next on the protein section.
In conjunction with the MyPlate Challenges, Meramec and Chartwells, the District’s food service provider, have been hosting regular “try-days” during lunchtime to encourage students to try new and different types of healthy foods. Students recently had the opportunity to try mangoes and kiwis during one taste-test, and black-eyed pea hummus and lima bean hummus on another try-day.
In addition to trying new, healthy foods at school, each Meramec student also received a children’s cookbook donated by Dole. With help from their parents, the students can cook their own healthy meals and begin building their healthy eating habits at a young age.