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Children Learn the Fun in and Importance of Healthy Eating

According to Santa Clara County’s status of children’s health, 18% of students in San Jose Unified School District face obesity or are in the “health risk” zone for body composition. To combat increasing rates of obesity, Cooking Matters teaches the importance of a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle. Over the course of three workshops, 35 K-2nd graders learned about various nutrition topics that aligned with McKinley Elementary School’s Nutrition and Healthy Eating month of May. 

The first workshop taught students about the vitamins within fruits and vegetables. The second workshop and third went over eight body parts and the produce that keeps each body part strong. During these workshops, students were sent packages of fruits and vegetables that aligned with each lesson for them to snack on while learning about. 

[Cooking Matters] allowed my team and me to educate school age children on nutrition and the benefits of eating healthy. Along the way, we were able to work towards creating lesson plans to promote health in the community through careful planning and intermediate research.

Thy TranHoang, SJSU Health and Recreation 22’

Cooking Matters brings together SJSU students and elementary students to a mutually beneficial program. Health Science students got the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned to young children in need of their expertise. Many of the elementary students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and don’t have access to nutritional food. These lessons are important because many of the younger children know what fruits and vegetables are but do not know their importance, or how each fruit and vegetable helps keep our bodies healthy. As a result of these workshops, students now think differently about the food they eat and recognize that “you are what you eat”. They choose to look for snacks that taste good and are fun to make, as well as are good for their bodies. When asked between lessons, many students were enthusiastically waiting for their next lesson to happen later in the week.  These programs helped energize students to keep learning more about healthy snacks.

During this summer, gardening workshops are being held for children to learn everything about how to grow and make their own homemade pico de gallo. Students engage in hands-on activities such as planting their own ingredients including tomatoes, peppers, onions, & cilantro. They also learn about the origins of the ingredients, and how to care for their plants. The students will be able to make their own pico de gallo once the plants are full grown and ready for harvest.

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