MEDIA RELEASES

Kids Preaching Nude Foods to Parents

Sara Hamilton has been preaching to her kids about healthy eating for years but it just kept falling on deaf ears. The peer pressure back at school was such that only packaged food was cool.

Enter Project Energize to Totara Grove School with its push for ‘nude’ food, and packaged foods are no longer the rage.

“I’ve been a believer in whole foods and natural foods and always tried to provide healthy lunches but since (Project Energize), my son and daughter come home and tell me what I’ve been trying to tell them for years. It’s nice to have what I’ve been trying to teach, backed up at school.”

Project Energize is a Sport Northland initiative, funded by Northland DHB, which sends ‘Energizers’ into primary schools to educate the pupils, parents and teachers about physical activity and nutrition and ultimately improve children’s overall health.

Totara Grove School is one of 42 Northland schools to adopt the Project Energize principles.

This week, energizer Jen Steele took the opportunity to reinforce some of these at the school’s annual junior sleepover event.

“I’m using it as an opportunity to interact with parents and try to get some of the messages home. As well as physical activities, I’ve brought along the four foods group kit, which the kids have seen before but I’m hoping it will start some conversation with their parents.”

The evening incorporated a range of fundamental movement skills games utilising the school’s playground, for example hopping and jumping over the alphabetic squares painted on the courts, pool games and sandpit activities.

Says junior lead teacher Maureen Toki: “It’s teaching the kids to use what’s already in the playground actively. I’ve noticed the kids are more active during break times – it’s awesome.”

Fellow junior teacher Donna Smith says her ‘success story’ is DJ Rihia, 5, who has now shunned the packaged foods she would bring to school every day, in favour or cheese sandwiches. She also now drinks the school milk.

“It helps me go and gives me energy,” says DJ. “I can run faster.”

Back across the playground, Sara Hamilton has rounded up her two children - Raydyn, 7 and Kali, 6 – from their game of ‘Huff-Puff’.

Says Raydyn: “Jen taught me not to use processed food or packaged food because they have less substance in them and more additives in them than fruit and nude food, which is food that comes from the ground and trees.

“I think packaged food is yuck.”

“Packaged foods are bad food and food that grows is good for you,” adds Kali.

“(Nude food) is becoming more the new norm,” says Sara. I can’t thank Jen and Project Energize enough for backing up what I’ve been trying to convey. It has definitely enriched our lives.”


Classmates (left to right): Ariana Naera-Kamoe, Dayshin Para and Jaxon Dalton-Steel with the four food groups behind them.


DJ Rihia, 5, now brings cheese sandwiches to school every day and drinks the school milk.


Sport Northland energizer Jen Steele (left) and mum Sara Hamilton with kids Kali, 6 (left), and Raydyn, 7.



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