|Welcome to Veggiecation|
What is Veggiecation?
It is the mission of Veggiecation to promote and educate communities on the health benefits of vegetables and how to prepare them in simple, unique, affordable, and most importantly, delicious ways.
Hands-on experiences and fun-filled activities inspire children (and adults alike) to explore new vegetables through engaged learning, tasting and discovering their truly delicious nature.
The story behind the program
Lisa Surinao, certified nutritionist and school food specialist, developed the idea for Veggiecation out of a need to inspire the school children she worked with to eat more fresh vegetables at lunch. Recognizing the necessity to gain academic support, Lisa approached educators to help her teach students the importance of eating vegetables.
While teachers agreed with the message, they all said, “There’s no time to teach nutrition education!” They stated that the school day was prioritized for the academic requirements needed to meet their state core curriculum standards, unfortunately there is no room for nutrition lessons.
Lisa knew that children's nutrition education was too important and helpful to the learning process! What we eat effects everything about our mind, body, and environment. There are multiple lessons to be had in relation to what we eat. There had to be an easy way to teach children the joys and benefits of healthy food during the regular school day.
Vegetables are the most powerful part of the plate, and yet they are the most often ignored. In order to increase consumption, they ought to be marketed to children in the same ways processed foods have been.
Changes in School Food
In September of 2012, the USDA implemented new requirements for the National School Lunch Program. A larger variety and quantity of vegetables and legumes are now being served, unfortunately across the country there was a backlash from students. An immense amount of food has been wasted and children were not receiving the nutrients they need to thrive academically. It’s important to foster acceptance of new foods.
Veggies in School = Better Students
Elevated standardized test scores Increased language & cognitive skills Decreased nurse visits Lessened need for counseling sessions Lower number of disciplinary referrals
The Minds & Talents Behind This Program
1 Nansel, T., et al (2009). Association of school performance indicators with implementation of the Healthy Kids, Smart Kids programme: case study.Public Health Nutrition Journal, 13 (01), 116-122.
2 Florence, M., et al (2008). Diet Quality and Academic Performance. Journal of School Health, 78 (4), 209-215.
3 Haire-Joshu, D., et al (2008). High 5 for Kids: The impact of a home visiting program on fruit and vegetable intake of parents and their preschool children. Preventive Medicine Journal, 47 (1), 77-82.