CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An innovative new partnership is providing school nutrition staff, educators and parents with new recipes and resources to create and serve healthy breakfasts and lunches that kids will love, both at school and at home.
Leading fresh produce provider and nutrition advocate Dole Food Company and the nonprofit Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) today celebrated the national rollout of a free interactive Healthy Eating Toolkit featuring recipes, tips and other resources designed to make healthy eating more accessible, fun and delicious.
As part of the toolkit rollout and AFHK’s new Take Action for Healthy Kids campaign, students and parents at Stoney Creek Elementary School in Charlotte were invited to take action by participating in a healthy breakfast taste test before school this morning. Healthy food taste tests are a fun and effective way to educate students about nutrition and get them to try—and love—new fruits, veggies and other healthy foods. Discriminating students were quick to give the new fruit- and vegetable-based recipes their approval.
“When it comes to getting kids to eat healthy, it doesn’t have to be a battle between nutrition and taste,” said William Goldfield, director of communications for Dole. “Dole has long been a strong advocate for helping kids make better educated eating choices and in partnership with Action for Healthy Kids, we are out to help teachers, schools and parents achieve both.”
Acknowledging the challenges facing school nutrition staff and parents tasked with serving meals that are healthy and appetizing, the two organizations today released five new recipes created by Melanie Marcus, MA, RD, Dole’s manager of nutrition and health communications. The recipes join dozens of other kid-tested Dole breakfast and lunch dishes in the toolkit, and include:
· Gosh-Golly-Gee Pineapple and Carrot Smoothie Remix (developed by Dole in 2018 for the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse)
· Protein-Packed Breakfast Tacos
· Breakfast Banana Split
· Fruity Breakfast Burrito
· Banana Breakfast Pudding
“One of our goals is to support the administrators, teachers and school food service professionals working to build healthier schools and students every day,” said Marcus. “This program seeks to support these unsung heroes with new recipes, tips and resources, and to extend this inspiration to parents working to create healthier families at home.”
The five new toolkit recipes were sampled today at a special breakfast celebration at Stoney Creek Elementary School in Charlotte. Close to 100 K-6 students and their parents took part in a Healthy Eating Adventure, receiving a stamp in their nutrition passport for tasting recipes and completing healthy activities. Representatives from Dole and AFHK shared details of the toolkit and program while Bobby Banana, Dole’s iconic banana mascot, led students and their parents in a stretching exercise and posed for selfies.
Stoney Creek is one of several hundred schools nationwide that has adopted the Healthy Eating Toolkit in partnership with AFHK. To date, more than 5,000 people have accessed the toolkit, contributing to actions taken as part of the Take Action for Healthy Kids campaign.
“The combination of providing nutrition education and opportunities for kids to eat healthy foods at school along with giving families easy, affordable ways to eat healthy at home is critical to supporting optimal nutrition for kids at an early age,” said Rob Bisceglie, CEO, AFHK. “For many children, school represents their only access to fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other healthier foods. The online toolkit offers schools even more support.”
The toolkit contains resources to help educators incorporate nutrition education into the school day, get creative with school gardens, inspire healthy fundraising, ensure water access, and conduct staff role modeling.
An at-home version for parents features timely articles and tip sheets for eating healthy on a budget, getting kids involved in the kitchen, reading nutrition labels, conducting taste tests at home, and accommodating picky eaters.
About Dole Food Company, Inc.
Dole Food Company, Inc., is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education and research. For more information, please visit www.dole.com.
About Action for Healthy Kids®
Action for Healthy Kids is dedicated to improving children’s health and well-being by bringing together educators, parents and communities to transform school into a place where children learn to lead healthy lives. Visit us at actionforhealthykids.org.