Rector Elementary Schools promoting healthy snacking

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

RECTOR, AR (KAIT) --Given a choice most kids would rather eat potato chips than celery.

Perhaps if they were given grapes instead of pretzels it might change their minds.

Rector Elementary Schools are passing out healthy snacks to fight off hunger pangs between breakfast and lunch and to promote healthier snacking.

Having been a kid, and still having a teenager at home, I know what kids like to eat.

Sometimes it's good for them and sometimes it's not so good. But it's always good to have options.

On this particular morning at Rector Elementary school, grapes were the snack of the day.

"We are serving about 350 K through 6 and then our pre-school we have about 30 somewhere along in there."

Director of Food Services Mary Williams assisted by Barbara Arnold were washing up pounds of grapes and filling cups to take to the 5th and 6th graders. Unlike some schools who may only do this once a month, Williams likes to snack out more often.

"We try to do it 3 sometimes more times during the week. As long as the money holds out we're going to have it for them."

The nutritious snacks are being paid for by a USDA grant that funds the program for a year.

Around 9:30 Williams and Arnold rolled the cups over to the school building. The 5th and 6 graders have a morning snack. Lower grades in the afternoon.

"It does break up the day between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner for the other children."

As her kids munched on grapes, 5th Grade Teacher Leisa Wesley stood in front of her classroom.

"We don't get to eat until 12:30 so they do get hungry. And they love the snacks. Just about every one of them eats all of their snack. And if they don't eat it then the other kids would like to have it."

It appeared that grapes were a popular favorite as the hands grabbed and the juicy morsels were chomped on.

Williams said her greatest triumph was Dragon Fruit, some things have not gone over quite as well. "We had broccoli but still, there are some kids who like broccoli believe it or not. And we had some who tried it who have not tried it before so there's the goal right there."

In Mrs. Wesley's 5th grade class Kaila Treat told me that the grapes are good but she still likes an occasional pretzel.

Hopefully by exposing these kids to better snacks they will ask their parents to buy these fruits for them and themselves.

Anything's cool Kaila says except celery.

"I like it with the whipped cream and stuff on top but other than that I don't like it just plain."

One of the classes is playing pick a better snack bingo.  As they eat and play healthy, they mark off a square.

The big taste they want to try is "Jicama" ...not even sure what that is.

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