Elkhart began offering the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program at Beardsley and Monger elementary schools this school year after receiving a grant from the Indiana Department of Education. The purpose of the new program, explained Pam Melcher, director of food services at ECS, is to introduce young students to fruits and vegetables they've never eaten before.
Often times, Melcher pointed out, young children won't try these items during school lunch because they are unfamiliar with them. By sampling and learning about the nutritional benefits of these food items in their classrooms, students have expanded their taste buds. Teachers are reporting that students are not only eating the fruits and vegetables during their regular snack period, but are also munching on the items throughout the day.
The overall goal of the program, Melcher added, is to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices. “We are always trying to come up with new ways to get our students to eat healthier," Melcher stated. "Increasing children's fruit and vegetable consumption today will have an impact on their diets, and their health, for years to come."