1:55pm

Tue August 28, 2012
Health and Welfare

Fruit Costumes Promote Healthy Eating for Kids

Wanna get kids to eat more fruit and vegetables at lunch time? Dress up in a banana suit. That's what cafeteria workers do at an elementary school in Hallandale Beach, Fla. (MCT photo by Mike Stocker) "They love it," said intern Ericka Floyd while wearing the yellow costume. "Some kids want to bite me."

Floyd and other workers have put on the costume, as well as others depicting corn, grapes, carrot and watermelon, to encourage kids to eat more healthy, reports Robert Nolin for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. "We're trying to attract attention to the concept that fruits and vegetables are good for you. They're good to eat, they're fun," said Darlene Moppert, a nutritionist who helps feed about 140,000 students each day.

Moppert said kids need to be prodded to eat healthily because "their consumption of fruits and vegetables is not where it needs to be." In addition to the costumes, Moppert hosts focus groups to see what students like to eat; do "plate waste" studies; and buy fresh produce from Florida farmers. She also working with popular menu items like pizza, burgers and chicken nuggets to make them more healthy. "We're taking what kids like and are familiar with and making it in a form that's a little healthier," she said. (Read more)