Mishnah Berurah Tiferet

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By: Monique Esses

Are you a parent?  If you answered yes, you likely already put a lot of effort into keeping your child healthy. After all, what parent wouldn’t do all that they could to keep their child healthy?

Yet, data pointing to poor nutrition abounds. Americans spend a whopping $190 billion on fast food each year. Moreover, our portions have been getting larger: the average serving size for burgers, french fries, and sodas has more than tripled since the 1970’s.

Some may argue that children, being as active as they are, could handle the extra calories. Yet, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only one in three children are physically active every day, and approximately 17% of our children are obese. Children, on average, now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (anything from a phone, iPad, video game console or computer).

Recognizing this alarming trend, Shaare Torah’s PTA recently organized a comprehensive Health Fair for the Yeshiva’s Preschool, Boys Elementary and Girls Elementary divisions. The fair’s aim was to help students learn how to eat healthy via balanced meals and healthier snack choices, as well as to help students discover the joy of being active. A key strategy in accomplishing this goal was to break unfounded negative perceptions students have about healthy snacking. The event was led by Beth Warren, a certified nutritionist and dietician, and staffed by several of our PTA volunteers who graciously gave of their time to run the fair.

Each child was given a “passport,” which was stamped at every food station and educational booth they attended. Students learned about the true sugar content in various foods, and about the importance of balanced meals. Additionally, they were treated to a delicious and colorful array of healthy snacks. At the fondue station, students sampled fresh fruit covered with dark chocolate. Some could be seen enjoying a cold berry smoothie rich in antioxidants, or munching on healthy snack bars, generously sponsored by Quality Frozen Foods Inc. Yet others used the time to catch up on breakfast (never, ever, skip breakfast!) helping themselves to a hot, piping bowl of oatmeal topped with coconut shreds, chocolate chips, or fruit.

Also popular with the kids was an obstacle course set up by the fair’s sponsor, Joel Gottehrerof Better Health Studios. Students mastered a mini boot-camp and challenged themselves with calisthenics and other exercise games. Moreover, they experienced the rush that being active and exercising brings.

Overall, the fair was a great success, reminding students and parents of the importance of healthy living and good decision-making.