The following article is from the Baltimore Examiner, November 7, 2008
School nutrition program teaches healthy eating
Hampstead Hill Academy's Food for Life program teaches nutrition basics
By Sara Michael
Examiner Staff Writer
At Hampstead Hill Academy, it's OK for middle-schoolers to play with their food.
Through the school's Food for Life program, students spend class time learning about what vitamins are in foods, how to prepare healthy meals, and of course, how the fresh foods taste. They even have an organic garden with fruits, vegetables and herbs.
"They almost without fail try it [if they] have a hand in identifying where it comes from, the recipe or the nutritional value," said Matt Hornbeck, Hampstead Hill principal.
Hampstead Hill is one of eight Baltimore schools incorporating nutrition into the school day using curriculum developed by the Food Studies.Institute, a nonprofit based
in Trumansburg, N.Y.
The institute's Food Is Elementary lesson plan teaches young children healthy eating habits - one solution to the rising rates of childhood obesity and the growing number of children taking medications for weight-related diseases, said founder and visiting Hopkins scholar Antonia Demas.
She has tried to make healthy foods fun by letting children touch, smell and taste new and diverse fruits and vegetables.
"They are so receptive to this type of education, and they are not getting it," said Demas, speaking at a conference Thursday at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
The federal school lunch program feeds 53 million students a day, and 73 percent of Baltimore's students receive free and reduced meals, Demas said.
The standard meal of a hot dog, tater tots and canned fruit in syrup may meet the federal nutrition requirements, but it isn't healthy for students, she said.
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