“Ya gotta eat your spinach, baby,” many parents and guardians may have pleaded with their children over generations. One area program is hoping to educate whole families about proper nutrition in fun and simple ways.
Students across Taney County are learning the benefits of good nutrition during the Family Nutrition Education Programs, which is part of University of Missouri Extension.
Nutrition Educator Barb Beck said this is her third year teaching a range of students all the way up to senior citizens at nursing homes.
The program is different for the various age groups. For example, with children, it’s all about trying new foods, learning that physical activity is fun and “food safety means better health,” according to a program fact sheet.
Over the course of several weeks, Beck has been doing just that at Forsyth Elementary School.
“It’s a series of at least six (classes),” Beck said. “This is my third year and I hear from people all the time. I left a class a few weeks ago and went to the senior center. (A woman) said, ‘All right, Barb, I have to tell you: We were sitting around the table one night and we were all talking about desserts.
“‘My granddaughter speaks up and goes, Ms. Barb says that grapes can be a dessert.’”
Another popular question is “How did you get my kid to eat broccoli?” Beck said.
As the students go on to upper grades, the curriculum Beck uses builds.
“The most rewarding (part of teaching) is when they tell me they’re eating more vegetables, ‘my grandma now buys me spinach,’” Beck said. “It’s society’s turn to be a little bit healthier.”