Some stories don’t happen on paper or in a video. They happen as a real-live event. We’ve seen many times how Eat Your Radio students can make a difference in how schools choose to be healthy. Here’s one story about that.
Once upon a time at a Denver public school, the “Family Days” when parents visited were also days when all the food that people brought to the party was supposed to be fun. Most grownups at the school didn’t think that healthy food could be fun, AND they thought healthy food would be too much trouble to bring. But Eat Your Radio students had a different idea! They asked to have healthy food be part of the events that year. Here’s how it really happened at one of the schools:
EAT YOUR RADIO 5th GRADER: Let’s have healthy food at the holiday party!
EAT YOUR RADIO ADULT TEAM: Great idea. Let’s check with the main office.
SCHOOL: We’ve never done this, and we’re terribly busy, and it probably won’t work. But IF a student wants this . . . if you want to try, first you need to ask MS. B for a special table, where you can put the food.
MS. B (one of the teachers): Students want to have healthy food? That’s great!!! I’m asking most of the food bringers to pay money for renting a food booth. But for students who want healthy food, you can reserve a table for free!
EAT YOUR RADIO 5th GRADER: Let’s have families make healthy recipes and bring them to our healthy food table for the holiday party!
EAT YOUR RADIO ADULT TEAM: Neat idea! Let’s check with the main office.
SCHOOL: We’re so sorry, but food safety regulations are very strict. We can only have food that’s in packages from a store. That’s a big reason why we have lots of packaged cookies, cakes and candy that grocery stores have donated to our party. Those are the safest foods and the ones most people donate. As for hot foods, we get them from places that have a restaurant license or a food safety license. It’s great for them to help us out. That’s why we have hot chocolate, and the chocolate fountain, and fresh donuts, and hot dogs and nachos and tamales. They’re all from real restaurants, with real food licenses. Food from home, even if parents make it in a healthy way, won’t be considered safe enough, and the school could get in trouble. So we have to cancel the idea of having healthier food at the holiday party.
EAT YOUR RADIO 5th GRADER. Can’t we find a way?
EAT YOUR RADIO ADULT TEAM. Let’s find a way. Let’s ask for help from someone with the school lunch program.
SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM EXPERT: We’d be happy to help you! Our staff is licensed to prepare food safely and follow all the rules for food preparation at school, And we have some trainees at a local chef school who can help us get things ready in the morning. And I’ll check with the school kitchen staff to see if we can do this there in their kitchen. Okay, I’ve checked with everyone. If you’d like to do it, we can help! We’ll even be there during the event to be sure that it’s served in a safe and healthy way.
EAT YOUR RADIO 5th GRADER: Hooray! We’re finding a way!
SCHOOL: Because you’ve gotten a table reserved for healthy food, and you’ve found a safe way to make the healthy food, then maybe we can do this. But we don’t want your healthy food to reduce our sales from the other food that people bring. This event is supposed to be a fundraiser, and our school needs the money!
SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM EXPERT): Can’t we try it any way?
EAT YOUR RADIO 5th GRADER: Please? It’s for healthy food.
SCHOOL: We’re terribly busy. It’s something new . . . Well, okay, we’ll try it. But people might not like it.
EAT YOUR RADIO 5th GRADER: I’ll ask my friends what their favorite healthy recipes are from our Nutrition Salads. And I’ll ask Miss Anne of Superfoods what kinds of recipes would work best for a big holiday party. Okay – now I have their answers . . . We want to have a Kwanzaa Fruit Salad, and a Corn and Bean Salad, and Fruit “pizzas” on English muffins.
SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM EXPERT: Okay! We can make all of these. And we’ll serve them in little tiny tasting cups as samples. Is it okay with the school if we do that for free?
SCHOOL: Well, hmm. Normally we charge for food so we can make money for our fundraiser. But this IS the first time. And it IS for healthy food. And it IS small sample sizes. Okay! We’ll try it.
. . . At this first school event with “healthy food,” most of the other food that was brought by other people was not as healthy. But the healthy food was a hit, and it was popular, and the fundraiser was still a success. Now there is a health committee at this school where there is more planning to encourage more people to bring healthy food. And the food safety experts have been figuring out ways to keep hot food made by people from home at a safe temperature so it’s safe, too. When there’s money for pizza and lemonade at after-school events, the school has looked at ways to serve more fruits and vegetables for the same amount of money. So there’s more and more healthy food at family events. And some of this got ts start from an Eat Your Radio 5th grader who said, “We can have healthy food at the Holiday Party!”