BIG CYPRESS — To continue promoting healthy eating habits for Tribal youth, the Big Cypress Library and the Wellness Center teamed up to teach kids about nutritious meals on Sept. 17.
Staff from the Willie Frank Library and the Wellness Center invited youth to visit “Nutrition Island” at the Frank Billie Tribal Field Office in Big Cypress. About 10 kids from pre-K and kindergarten participated in the class, which highlighted healthy food choices by reviewing the food pyramid, playing a game and preparing a healthy snack.
“It’s so important to teach kids about nutrition at such a young age (because) you’re planting seeds with them,” youth health specialist Amy Kimberlain said. “If it tastes good and it’s healthy, it makes them want to learn more. Starting them from such a young age is important for them to see that we want their bodies to be healthy so that we can help prevent disease later in life.”
Kimberlain began the class by reminding kids of healthy food options. Youth took apart each food group and identified healthy food choices for each.
“I like to give the kids a general nutrition lesson just to get them back into the swing of things,” Kimberlain said. “It helps reinforcement of what the different food groups are.”
After reviewing the food groups, kids played a game similar to Candy Land in which they furthered their knowledge of smart food choices.
To end the class, youth gathered around the table to prepare a balanced snack. Using each food group, they enjoyed a “banana dog” made with sunflower seed butter, bananas, wheat bread and honey, and enjoyed a “groovy green smoothie” made with yogurt, spinach, green grapes, bananas and apples.
“We picked a food that had all the food groups,” Kimberlain said. “Some were hidden, but they didn’t know.”
With the help of Gretchen DeBree, Big Cypress librarian, Kimberlain said she expects to hold nutrition classes quarterly. The next class is scheduled for January.