Learning Healthy Living

When the bell rings at Mallory Elementary the after school staff of the Dallas County Area YMCA is just getting started. Each participant is greeted with a smile and snack while backpacks are put away and groups gather to begin their afternoon. Many inquire what they will be doing that day and more than a few times you may hear, “Is it Kids in the Kitchen today?” Every Tuesday and Thursday you can find Ms. Rachel, Health Educator for the Dallas County Health Department, and Ms. Pat, her assistant, bringing in their coolers and supplies to get set up for “Kids in the Kitchen.” These ladies meet with each group for 30 minutes during the week teaching them about food and nutrition. This semester kids are learning about their senses when it comes to foods with the most recent lesson including a snack of lightly salted popcorn so that kids will be able to compare a crunchy snack to one that is creamy like yogurt. After this unit program participants will come away with a better understanding of why foods have different textures and may even realize that texture is not always a reason to dislike a particular item. During Kids in the Kitchen there is one rule about the food Ms. Rachel provides: you have to try every part of the food. Kids are usually great to abide by this guideline and have discovered many things that they have really enjoyed because of it such as Reuben sandwiches and coconut-lime energy balls. Rachel Badgett has been coming to the Y After School Program for over five years now and has seen kids go from Kindergarten and graduate on to middle school. The program she provides is educational and fun so the kids are excited to learn about nutrition. No matter what the activity or the food that is served that day everyone loves to see Ms. Rachel and Ms. Pat come and are always excited for next time!

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