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Highview students feed their minds with Food for Learning

By Celina Ip

Highview Public School students fed their minds with a healthy start to their school day through Food for Learning.


Renfrew County Food for Learning Student Nutrition Program provides funding for food and ongoing support to schools and community organizations who run healthy breakfast, snack and lunch programs for the children and youth living in Renfrew County.

The program aims to educate students on proper nutrition and provide them with the best food for thought to take them through their school day.

Food for Learning co-ordinator Andrea McIntyre explained that children and youth who are well nourished are less tired, concentrate better and are better prepared to participate in academic and physical activities.

“We love working with schools to help provide students with the best nutrition and food education,” said McIntyre.

On Jan. 25, a group of Grade 5 to 8 students at Highview Public School took part in an immersive Food for Learning workshop during which they prepared three different kinds of smoothies with Red Seal Chef Bill Proulx, learned about Canada’s Food Guide and were taught about the importance of hand washing before mealtime.

The three smoothies – Mango Bango, Berry Banana and Green Goodness – were crafted with a variety of fruits, vegetables, yogourt and juices.

After preparing the smoothies and distributing them in sample cups for the 425 students in the school, 20 students served as a data group to rate the smoothies according to taste.

The Mango Bango – composed of carrots, mango and oranges – received the most thumbs up from 11 students.

Following closely behind was the Berry Banana – composed of strawberries, bananas and yogourt – which received thumbs up from nine students.

In last place was the Green Goodness – composed of cucumbers, mint and honey – which didn't appeal to the students but was enjoyed by the adult volunteers who tried it.

According to McIntyre, the workshop was the first of its kind and Highview Public School had the honour of being chosen as the pilot school.

“It's just a different way to show how easy food can be prepared. Not all of us have the skills set of a chef but the kids will be able to take away a few simple skills that maybe they didn’t know otherwise,” said McIntyre.

To cover the cost of the workshop, Pembroke’s Greenwood Women’s Institute provided the school with a $125 donation to prevent the school from having to dip into their own funds.

According to Greenwood Women’s Institute representative Doreen Jackson, the charitable organization has been supporting the local Food for Learning programs for many years.

“Our reason to support Food for Learning actually goes back a long way. 120 years ago, our founder Adelaide Hoodless lost a child because the milk was not pasteurized. Thereafter, she decided that it was necessary to teach rural mothers how to properly serve nutritious meals to their children and so hygiene and nutrition became a focus of the group and over the years we’ve always supported these sorts of endeavours,” said Jackson.

Jackson said that it’s their mission to continually support these programs in order to help students receive the necessary nutrition to fuel their bodies and minds throughout the day.

“Having been a teacher myself I saw what happened in the classroom when children didn't eat breakfast – they just couldn't concentrate,” said Jackson. “So it's very important and in this busy world where parents are working and children are being rushed about, a good start of the day is the best meal of the day.” 

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