The Kids in the Kitchen Program/4-H Healthy Living program is co-coordinated by Dean Berendt, 6th grade teacher and Jill Riesgraf, lead teacher at the Pepin Grade School and Marie Ritscher, 4-H Youth Development Agent in Pepin County. With the help of other Pepin School Staff, the Kids in the Kitchen Program is a hands-on educational and fun opportunity to learn more about nutrition, food and healthy living. Many of the activities follow MyPlate (the federal government’s food guidelines) philosophy by emphasizing the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein foods, and dairy groups required to build a healthy diet.
On April 10, forty students in grades 2nd – 5th had the opportunity to make 2 kinds of wraps, Peanut Butter Banana Wrap and Crunchy Vegetable Wrap. Both wraps include the 5 foods groups, (fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains and dairy) and the wraps can easily be made by elementary age students. This is an ideal snack that children can make when they are home and get hungry so they can make a healthy wrap rather than a high sugar or high fat snack food.
The main lessons the program focused on were: heathy snacking, eating whole grains and staying active. All of the wraps were made with whole wheat tortillas, when the students were asked if they eat whole wheat tortillas again, 90% of the students said they would. One student made the comment, “The banana wrap is my favorite, I am will ask mom if I can make this at home”.
To remind students of the importance of physical activity while participating in a community service project Sarah Smith, a Pepin parent volunteer, led an activity for the cause Sole Hope. Sole Hope’s mission is: “To effectively put in place preventative methods to combat diseases that enter through the feet and to create a positive physical and psychological differences in the lives of individuals in impoverished communities“. The student’s role in the activity was to draw and cut out parts of a shoe from recycled material (plastic bottle and denim). The shoe parts will be sent to Uganda, where the materials will be used to make shoes for children in Uganda. In Uganda shoes play a large role in preventing parasites and disease to enter the feet of Ugandan people.
This session also included a leadership component where 6th grade students served as mentors for the Kids in the Kitchen program. Their responsibility was to lead the games and teach how to make the wraps to the 2nd – 5th grade students, with guidance from Mr. Dean Behrendt, the 6th grade teacher.
If you are interested in helping with the afterschool program, please contact the Pepin School. If you would like a copy of the recipes or more information about 4-H, contact Marie Ritscher at the Pepin County UW-Extension Office, 715-672-5214.