Apples and Berries
We kicked off our snack program by having all of our students taste test a variety of local apples. They noticed differences in texture, sweetness, size, and colour. Many students had only ever tried one or two kinds of apples before this experience!
Apples were then grated and parents volunteered so that every student could work in a small group to make and bake healthy Apple Oatmeal muffins which were also featured in our snack program.
The smells of cinnamon and muffins baking filled the halls of the school. Students closed their eyes, tilted their heads back, and sniffed with delight as they waited eagerly for the snacks to be ready. Students participated in multiple baking classes throughout the year. Recipes went home and families were encouraged to bake together.
Something for Everyone
We designed our snack program to feature a fresh cut-up fruit, a dried fruit, and a baked item featuring whole grains and a grated fruit or vegetable. We also offered a yogurt parfait made with mixed berries and Kashi cereal. We offered this selection to make sure there was something for everyone.
We cut up the apples as many of our students deal with dental issues and can not bite directly into an apple. The crispy dried apples offered an easier transition between the familiar crunchy texture of packaged foods to a healthier option. The fresh baked muffin was offered as a nourishing option that would be quick to eat and attractive to most students.
We also had the muffin option so that any leftover fresh fruit could be grated or pureed and added to the muffin batter instead of being wasted.
Hooray for Healthy!
Our snack program was very popular. Students were so excited to eat the healthy snacks that they cheered when they saw a tray of berry yogurt parfaits or fresh muffins being brought out to the snack table! It is very encouraging to see children enjoying healthy choices and even positively influencing the choices made by their families.
We faced our biggest challenge before our program even got started. The kitchen in our classroom had only one small sink, no dishwasher, and very little counter space. We were really happy to get the F2S grant but then realized we would need a lot more money to get the kitchen up to code. The room renovation was an overwhelming project at times but we were able to pull the funding together from multiple sources and ended up with a fantastic space that has been well used and enjoyed by students and parents.
Taking the First Step
Most people support the idea of buying local and eating fresh whole foods but putting this into action takes time and effort. Every journey starts with one step and the F2S grant has been a great catalyst for making this transition. We look forward to building on our experiences and strengthening our local connections to get even more fabulous local produce into our school to nourish our students!