Thursday, May 24, 2012

Children's Day Fair at Loma Linda

Last week, two of my students and I held a nutrition booth at Loma Linda University and Medical Center's annual Children's Day Fair. Over 1300 children and 400 parents/teachers were in attendance to enjoy the various booths by all the different medical departments including the fire department and police department. This is definitely a fun time of learning for many children in the Inland Empire.

The wagon was filled with colorful fruits & vegetables.

My two dietetic students may look familiar to you. They are Melani Sadanala and Zsaleh Rahimi. I had posted their outstanding video cooking demo presentations a few months ago. They both are great students who will be graduating in about two weeks.

The theme I chose for our booth this year is "Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables!". I believe it is never too early to encourage children in the right path of eating right. If they are taught from the get go that eating fruits and vegetables is definitely a wonderful thing to do in order to grow strong and be healthy, there is a good possibility they will embrace these good lifestyle practices into adulthood. As a registered dietitian, I don't believe in deceiving your children by "hiding" vegetables in food. 

For our give-aways at our booth, we handed out bananas as well as colorful handouts on what constitutes a portion size for fruits and vegetables. We also handed out magnets, pens, and little note-pads. 

As the children came to our booth, we talked to them about what their favorite fruits and vegetables are and explained to them why it is important for them to continue eating these delicious whole foods every single day. We showed the children that a baseball is equivalent to the portion size of one fresh vegetable serving. A tennis ball was used to show that a serving of fresh fruit is about the size of that particular ball. Although all of the children listened intently, many of them asked if they can have the baseballs.:-D  Many of the children do understand what it means to be healthy and to be sick. They understand that being as healthy as they possibly can is the way they want to go.

Even though it was a hot day, it still was an enjoyable day for all of us with the children. We were very glad to once again be part of a fair that introduces children to the various medical professions as well as to the professions that help protect our communities...and of course, introduce them to healthy living. We hope that all of the children we saw that day will grow up to making healthy choices when it comes to food!

How do you encourage your children to eat fruits and vegetables?

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