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Healthy Snack Challenge

Michelle Clark,   Namaste Charter School
Access to Healthy Foods,  Student Leadership
Healthy Snack Challenge

10 students from 3rd-7th grade signed up to participate in a healthy snack cookoff. They had to create a unique snack that follows the USDA's Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines. Students had 30 minutes to prepare their snack before families, students, staff, and community members. Seven community members ranging from teachers, parents, and administrators were judges in this event. All snacks were judged based on presentation, how simple it was to make, taste, creativity, and if the snack met USDA standards. Each snack was unique and tasted amazing. Of course there was only one winner -- that went to a 5th grader for his yogurt and berry parfait. All snack recipes were collected in order to create a healthy snack cookbook that can be shared to all community members at our school to encourage smart snacking!

How did students and adults work together as a team?

Students worked independently preparing their snacks while many adults would walk around asking if they needed assistance with chopping or using appliances. We had many parents of the students promote the event through social media, PTO, and the family newsletter. It was great seeing the adults truly support the students and their efforts towards creating healthy snacks.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Promoting the event and having students sign up was very simple. What was a challenge was that there were many students having trouble chopping ingredients and working certain appliances. I had to go into our school's kitchen to grab extra knives and a blender to give to students to help them. As an adult, you want to help out in any way you can, but all students took ownership over their recipe and preparation. It was great seeing how passionate they are about cooking on their own!

What improvements have you seen at your school?

I have seen so many more students interested in cooking on their own! And not only cooking, but snacking smarter, too. A lot of families didn’t know how simple it is to make healthy snacks from fresh produce. Most families think that snacks are bought and packaged. But this event really educated a lot of families about nutritious ways to make simple snacks. It’s great to hear students and parents still talk about the success of the cookoff.