Kanoheda students get lesson in healthy eating

LAWRENCEVILLE - Students at Kanoheda Elementary got a lesson in staying healthy Friday morning when celebrity chef Marvin Woods stopped by to talk to the children about the importance of eating better.

After they learned the importance of exercising their minds by reading and exercising their bodies by eating healthy and getting fit, the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students shouted, "One, two, three - healthy me."

Woods has teamed up with the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers and Mission Foods to bring the nutrition program into schools to combat the rising epidemic of childhood obesity.

Woods shared the "Three F's" of healthy eating:

· Use fresh or frozen foods, not canned.

· Experiment with flavor.

· Talk to your family and friends about the lesson.

The chef said it's important for students to learn how to be healthy while they're young so their health doesn't suffer later in life.

For people who say it's cheaper to buy processed foods, Woods said it's important to understand that saving a little money now could cost you in the future. People who are obese often have to spend more money on doctors and medication later in life.

"You can pay now or pay later," he said. "It's important to send a couple more pennies now, because who wants to be taking medication in the future?"

Kanoheda teacher Jennie Gungian said she thought the program would help students become healthier.

"A lot of people go for fast food and convenience, but that's not a healthy meal," she said. "It's good reminder for the kids that they need to keep healthy."

Thrash, the professional hockey team's mascot, was also at the assembly. He helped get the students excited about reading by asking the children to name their favorite books. While Dr. Seuss' "Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham" are popular with students, Thrash showed off his favorite, "Bugs."

During the fitness portion of the program, the big bird challenged a student to see who could do the most push ups. Thrash lost.

Woods said the program will appear in other schools in the Atlanta area, and he hopes to take it nationwide.

"Whether we're talking to adults or talking to kids, it's the same message," Woods said. "It's a message that needs to be heard all over the country."

To see some recipes suggested by the program, visit www.missionmenus.com.