By Beth Lawrence
Sixteen children from toddlers to pre-teens attended a workshop designed to help them develop better eating habits.
The Share the Color program, sponsored by Summit Group Subway Restaurants, was held on a recent Tuesday afternoon at the Jackson County Library.
Share the Color events have been offered for three years. This is Sylva’s second year participating.
“The goal is to introduce them to new vegetables, trying new foods in their plates and steering them away from the junk food and into healthier eating in general,” said David Finleyson, public information officer for Subway.
Subway hires registered nutritionists and dietitians to conduct the seminars.
Jennifer Luker, WIC nutritionist at Jackson County Department of Public Health, spoke to the children in terms they could understand about choosing healthy meals and why some options are better than others.
Luker brought in visual aids in the form of life-like fruits and vegetables to give the kids a hands-on example of foods that are better for them.
“It’s good to get the kids out and active and give more information about nutrition,” Luker said of events like this one.
Luisa McMahan brought her two children, Henry, 8, and Annie, 5, to the workshop to bolster the ideas of good nutrition that she teaches in the home.
“A friend came last year, and she told me it was really good, so this year I went ahead and signed up to bring them,” McMahan said.
She said her son often doesn’t like to eat vegetables, so she hopes activities provided at the workshop will create incentives for him to try different things to eat.
At the end of the seminar, the children were quizzed about what they had learned, and the first person to answer each question correctly was rewarded with a Subway gift card.
McMahan was pleased that the workshop was led by a nutritionist and felt the quiz was a good way to reinforce what the children learned.
“I think the kids really learned something,” she said. “At this age it’s easy for them to remember numbers like the portions of vegetables per day or three portions of dairy.”
Henry McMahan enjoyed the workshop and said he learned a lot. He thinks the program will help him make better choices in the future.
Once the educational activities were completed, the children donned chef’s hats and constructed their own subs provided by the Cullowhee Subway. They were treated to a ham or turkey sub on white or wheat bread and allowed to top the sandwiches with any vegetables they wished.
They could also choose applesauce and water or juice to drink and were given a coloring book and crayons to take home.