The Kids in the Kitchen Program/4-H Food Smart Families program is co-coordinated by Dean Berendt, the 6th grade teacher and Marie Ritscher, 4-H Youth Development Agent in Pepin County, working closely with Jill Riesgraf, Pepin Grade School lead teacher. 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. This program includes a leadership component where, 6th grade students served as mentors for the Kids in the Kitchen/4-H Smart Food Families program; their responsibility was to lead and teach how the food sessions the 2-5 grade students, with guidance from Mr. Dean Behrendt, the 6th grade teacher. On March 22, forty students in grades 2-5 had the opportunity to “Rethink Their Drink” and make a healthy snack when the “Snack Attack” hits. In the beverage session, the students tasted four kinds of flavored infused water: lemon, orange, cucumber and lime water. Along with this session, the 6th grade mentors presented examples of high sugar drinks to encourage students to avoid the sugary beverages and drink the more nutritious flavored water.
During the “Snack Attack” session, the 6th grade mentors assist the students in making a Tortilla/Cheese Wrap. These wraps are a kid friendly snack that include 3 of 5 foods groups, (protein, grain and dairy) and can easily be made by elementary age students. This activity teaches children how to make a healthy wrap rather than a high sugar or high fat snack food when they are hungry.Eating healthy snacks, avoiding sugary drinks and staying active were the three main lessons of this program. To encourage students to be active, a teamwork game was introduced to the students and for the last 15 minutes of the program Mr. Berendt and Ms. Riesgraf took the students outside to play games and utilized the school playground.
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.