Grade school kids across Oregon will learn about healthy eating, thanks to a program from the Oregon State University Extension Service.
It's part of OSU Extension's Food Hero campaign which encourages Oregonians to eat more fruits and vegetables using inexpensive easy-to-make recipes from its website at www.foodhero.org. The site also offers tips on topics including food safety, meal planning and eating on a budget.
For the next five months, nutrition educators with the Extension will hold events at 58 elementary schools in 27 of the state's 36 counties as part of the initiative. Wearing Food Hero aprons and superhero capes, they'll demonstrate how to make dishes from the website and will serve samples in cafeterias, hallways and classrooms.
The educators will also give students cookbooks, calendars and Food Hero hand stamps saying "Ask me what I tried," so their parents can learn about the website and get advice for nutritious eating as well.
"Food Hero is a 24/7 resource," says Lauren Tobey, coordinator for the website and the OSU Extension Service's nutrition education program. "It's a great option for busy parents to find healthy recipes that are easy and taste good, as well as tips on healthy eating."
Stephanie Russell, an Extension nutrition educator who works with schools in Jefferson and Crook counties, says Extension will offer table displays and tasting sample of Food Hero recipes at family nights in elementary schools in Prineville and Madras.
"Kids love the Food Hero recipes," she says. "We've been using many of them in hands-on cooking classes in local middle schools and high schools. One favorite is the Popeye Smoothie. Students are always saying they can't believe how good a smoothie can be that has spinach in it. One student told me she liked it so much she shared it with her grandmother in Mexico."