August 6, 2014 10:29:54 AM
With school getting ready to begin, a local program is providing parents education on healthy snacks for their children.
The Snack 4 Success event is part of Mississippi University for Women's Passport to Wellness program and focuses on creating healthy eating habits in children.
The Snack 4 Success program partners with Franklin Academy, Cook Elementary and Annunciation Catholic School.
April Barlow, MUW's Coordinator of Professional Learning, said she would be at the three schools' open houses handing out literature to parents as well as examples of healthy snacks.
"We hope to do two things, to show parents how important it is to feed our children healthy snacks and lunches and to show children that healthy can actually taste good," Barlow said. "Parents will receive the attached literature from the USDA that explains healthy snack tips for their child and kid-friendly veggies and fruit options. Also, we are providing them information on how they can improve their activity level as a family and how they are modeling eating habits for their child.
"We just want parents to see that just little healthy changes, such as adding a whole fruit to their child's lunch a day, can be a positive change."
The grant, which is funded through the BCBS Foundation of Mississippi, is a year-long program that focuses on unhealthy lifestyle choices in elementary school students as well as the general population of Lowndes County.
Barlow said healthy snacking improves attendance, improves focus and improves test scores.
"Getting adequate nutrition keeps children from getting sick as often and decreases the time away from school," she said. "Eating healthy meals has been proven to improve mood, alertness, and even memory. Healthy eating has been linked to improvements in recalling information, test scores and overall grades."
Barlow will be handing out snack bags filled with raisins, fruit leather and applesauce.
"We chose three things that are easily found in local supermarkets and would be easy for parents to purchase and pack in a lunch box," she said. "However, whole fruits and veggies can easily be made to taste great and fun for kids to eat. On the USDA kid-friendly veggie and fruit handout they have some great suggestions on how to get creative such as the caterpillar kabobs, which is just raw veggies and fruits, but it looks and sounds so much cooler."
Barlow will be at Franklin Academy today from 2- 4 p.m., Cook Elementary today from 4-6 p.m., and Annunciation catholic School on Aug. 12 from 4-6 p.m.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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