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Above: Students at Lower Lake Elementary were wowed by the smoothie bike during KUSD's Nutrition Week.

Nutrition Week Celebrated Throughout Konocti Unified School District

Monday, March 21, 2016

Representatives of Lake County Health Services Public Health Division, FoodCorps (a program of the Lake County Farm to School project of North Coast Opportunities, Inc.), the Lower Lake Hub (a program of the Department of Education), Live Well (a program of St. Helena Adventist Health), and the Konocti Unified School District Child Nutrition Services, organized a week-long event that focused on improving nutrition.

“Over 4,000 years ago, oranges were served as a treat in Italy,” students heard announced over their school’s Public Address system, “navel oranges are a very widely eaten variety of orange. They got their name because the bottom of an orange looks like a bellybutton, or a navel! They are full of Vitamin C, which helps your immune system fight off sickness. Did you know it takes about 4 oranges to make an 8-ounce glass of orange juice? Look for this citrus fruit today during lunch!”

A unique nutrition announcement highlighting a particular fruit or vegetable served on the lunch menu was provided each day of the week March 14-18. These messages were reinforced through colorful signage in school cafeterias.

“Kale, Yeah!” read one sign, “Would it Kale you to try it?” on another, highlighted fruits and vegetables served in the Konocti Unified School District (KUSD) lunch  that week which also included green beans, oranges, apples, kale, and pineapple.

Representatives of the Konocti Nutrition Week collaborators also traveled around the school district to host health fairs during student lunch hours. Students participating in these health fairs were able to play fruit and vegetable trivia and do physical activities for prizes such as cookbooks, aprons, t-shirts, and hats from Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), a project of the Lake County Public Health division. All students also received pencils provided by St. Helena Adventist Health.

As Dana Kent, SNAP-Ed project director with the Lake  County Public Health Division said, “it’s important for students to learn about nutrition in a fun and engaging format to captivate the students’ attention and inspire a healthy lifestyle.”

At each KUSD site, students made green smoothies for their fellow classmates - which included kale grown by local Love Farms in Lakeport - by pedaling a bicycle-powered blender on loan from  Lake County Tribal Health.

“I never knew you could put kale in a smoothie!” exclaimed a fifth grade student at Lower Lake Elementary School, who thought the smoothie was delicious. “I’m going to put kale in everything!”

“Building a foundation of healthy lifestyle habits begins in our elementary school years,” explains Patricia Concha, RD with St. Helena Hospital Clearlake. “Events like Konocti Nutrition Week help expose kids to a wider variety of fruits and vegetables while learning about nutrition in a fun, engaging way that they will be able to relate to and remember for the rest of their lives.”