Posted on March 23, 2018 by

Lessons That Last

Nutrition lessons provide at-risk students with food for today and knowledge for tomorrow.

Nutrition Lesson, Kids CafeIt’s an overcast day in Nashville, but despite the dreary weather, a group of Tusculum Elementary School students are a buzz with laughter and conversation as they file into the cafeteria.

These young students are enrolled in our Kids Cafe program, which provides them with meals and snacks during the school year and summer months. Last year alone, children across Middle Tennessee received over 118,000 meals and snacks through the program.

A lesson in action

In addition to food, Kids Cafe also includes regular nutrition lessons taught by our Registered Dietician, Caroline Pullen.

Today’s lesson begins with a guessing game.

One at a time, Caroline holds an image of a nutritious food above each student’s head. The rest of the class excitedly describes and mimes each item as the individual guesses the name of the mystery food.

Nutrition lesson, Kids CafeThe students identify strawberries and milk right away but struggle with cauliflower and salmon. When someone is stumped, Caroline explains what the food is by comparing it to something they’re more familiar with.

After the game, she makes the kids yogurt parfaits, and they talk about what makes a healthy after school snack. 

Knowledge is power

For most of these students, fresh produce, dairy, and meat are occasional treats rather than pantry staples. Caroline’s lessons teach them about new foods and give them nutrition education that they usually don’t receive in school or at home.

At Second Harvest, it’s not enough just to feed hungry children. We aspire to equip kids with knowledge that will keep them healthy well past grade school.

If you’d like to support feeding programs like Kids Cafe, consider making a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank in honor of Nutrition Month.