Smith Elementary School Introduces Initiative to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

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Smith Elementary School at New Britain School District and Whitsons School Nutrition have introduced “Build Your Plate”, a program to familiarize children with healthy foods and foment a healthy lifestyle from a young age.

Elementary school children enjoying a healthy smoothie as part of the Built Your Plate Program

In the Build Your Plate Program, children are taught not only how to prepare a balanced meal, but also the source of the ingredients and their nutritional content.

Looking to encourage healthy food choices from an early age, Smith Elementary School has introduced a nutrition program called “Build Your Plate” imparted by Whitsons School Nutrition New Britain Food Service Directors, Jeff Taddeo and Michael Koch. In this program, children are taught not only how to prepare a balanced meal, but also the source of the ingredients and their nutritional content.

The program is divided in four modules, each approximately 30 minutes long. In each module, the students are familiarized with the different ingredients present in that week’s “plate” where they have the chance to look at these ingredients in their raw state and learn about their origin and nutritional value. While the first module is focused on the entrée, usually a healthy spin on a traditional dish, in the second module, the emphasis is given to the side dish. In the third module, the kids learn how to make a healthy beverage or snack such as a non-fat yogurt smoothie, and in the last module the topic is the preparation of a healthy dessert.

“Build Your Plate” started this September as a pilot program including only the fifth grade class. Due to the positive response to the program, the plan for the remainder of the year is to expand “Build Your Plate” to include other grade levels, and later on to extend it to other elementary schools in the district.

About Whitsons School Nutrition:
Whitsons School Nutrition provides a wide range of highly customized dining services to public and private schools, with a strong focus on nutritious, high quality meals made from fresh, wholesome ingredients. Whitsons has a long and proud history of excellence and growth since 1979 and currently ranks the 16th largest dining company in the United States (Food Management magazine, September 2011). In addition to school nutrition, Whitsons’ scope of expertise and services extends to: culinary development, residential and healthcare dining, delivered meals, corporate dining, emergency dining and vending services.


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Sonia Garrido
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