Students at Ottawa’s Norman Johnston Alternative School are getting a “forks-on” education in nutrition and healthy eating.
The secondary school at 2401 Cleroux Crescent in Gloucester offers a weekly salad bar during morning break. So, instead of heading for the nearest fast-food joint or corner store to load up on chocolate bars, chips, fries or other junk, teens at this high school refuel their brains with healthy food!
The salad bar has an assortment of fruits and vegetables available as toppings for lettuce, kale and/or baby spinach. School staff members also have students assemble bean salads, quinoa salads, whole wheat couscous salads, whole wheat pasta salads and fruit salads to expand their knowledge of ways to include more fruits and vegetables in their meals. Students are involved in the planning and preparation of the foods being offered in the salad bar.
How awesome is that?!
To make this happen, the school applied for and received a $1000 grant from Metro’s Green Apple School Program (GASP). GASP awards grants to Ontario schools that create educational programming to encourage healthy eating or access to healthy food. This year, Metro awarded $600,000 in grants of $1,000 each. Recipient schools are using their grants to establish gardens, host cooking workshops, develop cookbooks add establish food programs.
It has certain made a difference at Norman Johnston.
“Salad Days at NJ was designed by the students themselves, and seeing it come to life has been incredibly rewarding for them,” says Lorraine Zuccato, a teacher at Norman Johnston Alternate School. “Metro’s commitment to fostering meaningful change in Ontario communities helps build a much-needed foundation for developing life-long healthy habits that the children are so much more likely to adopt when they create and actively contribute to the program.”
Schools interested in participating in the Metro Green Apple School Program are encouraged to visit the website in mid-September, when applications for grants for the current school year will open. Teachers and students can log onto www.greenapple.metro.ca.