One Baltimore elementary school is getting its students to eat more fruits and veggies byway of a smoothie bar complete with an array of produce including spinach, carrots, cucumbers, strawberries, pineapples, bananas, chia seeds, almond milk, and coconut water.
Edgewood Elementary School – where 91 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced meals – gets fruits and veggies through a federally-funded program for low-income schools. Through this program, students can concoct beverages twice per week outside of regular meal hours.
The school also received a generous donation of 10 blenders, bowls, cutting boards, and 120 reusable cups from NutriBullet.
“The kids are able to incorporate foods that are going to give them fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants, which are really important because you don’t find antioxidants in these processed foods that kids are existing off of,” says nutritionist Sarah Lefkowitz, who helped launch the project.
Many of the students are just being introduced to veggies they may otherwise consider unfamiliar.
“I’m not used to tasting carrots,” one little girl says.
Principal Kim Sollers says she hopes students will experiment and find what healthy combination of tastes will best suit them.
“Teachers will work together to find recipes and also set parameters,” she says. “If the vegetable of the day is spinach, there may be a listing that indicates you must have spinach in your smoothie in addition to whatever you fruits you decide to add.”