Nutrition Fairs Provide Hands-On Learning in the Cliffside Park School District
MARCH 27, 2015 LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015, 12:31 AM

CLIFFSIDE PARK – Students in Cliffside Park enjoyed a Health Fair presented by Pomptonian as part of Wellness Week which is celebrated in schools all over the country.

Beginning on March, 23, all schools in Cliffside Park are incorporating nutrition into their lesson plans to help students learn the importance of eating the right foods. Each day, Pomptonian hosted a health fair at a different school.

The health fair organizers brought in “healthy option” foods for the students to sample. There were also games set up for the students to play during the morning program.

Children and teens may not understand the importance of eating nutritious foods and so school officials find it necessary to educate them on the importance of what the body intakes and digests. With so many commercials and ads for unhealthy snacks and sweets on television, children are often persuaded to eat unhealthy food.

“The media and advertising uses cartoon characters which makes kids what to eat junk food. Plus it tastes good so it is tough to get them to eat things like vegetables. With Wellness Week we want to help promote good eating habits,” said School 3 Principal Donna Calabrese.

Students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade at School 3 were able to participate in various games to help them learn about healthy foods on March 24. A relay race was set up to teach students about the different food groups. They were each given a food item that they were required to place in a box with the appropriate food group. Some of the categories included lean protein and calcium.

Stations were also set up to educate the children on healthy eating. One display showed examples of “go foods,” “slow foods” and “whoa foods.” A member of Pomptonian explained that “go foods,” such as fruits and vegetables, are the healthiest and should be eaten most often while the “whoa foods,” foods like candy and soda, should only be eaten once in a while. The “slow foods” which include snacks like chips and pretzels should be eaten less often than the “go foods” but are not as unhealthy as the “whoa foods.”

A table display depicting fat content, salt content and sugar content was also set up. Here students could see visual rep-resentations of the amount of fat and sugar in some of their favorite foods such as fast food and sweets. Test tubes were filled with the amount of sugar in drinks such as iced tea and soda so it was easy for students see the amount of sugar they are drinking.

Stations were organized to allow students to sample healthier meals and snack options. A chef was present and preparing whole wheat pasta from scratch. Other healthier snack samples included fresh pineapple and whole grain chips. By trying these new foods, teachers and school administrators are hoping it will encourage students to try it again.

“This event is showing students how to eat properly. Eating healthy here and trying new healthy foods will hopefully encourage them to try healthier options at home,” said first grade teacher Jill Guider.