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Chesapeake Members Teach Families Yummy Ways to Eat Like a “Super Kid”
Story by Tracie Frederick
Kids and their parents learn to make their own chips at Middletown Valley’s “Eat Like a ‘Super Kid’” cooking fair.
How do you get kids to eat healthfully? Feed them cupcakes, s’mores, pizza, chips and smoothies, of course! Those were just some of the foods 27 kids between the ages of 3 and 12 ate and prepared Sunday afternoon at Chesapeake Conference’s Middletown Valley church in Jefferson, Md. The church hosted a two-hour cooking fair called “Eat Like a ‘Super’ Kid” that gave families fun activities and healthy but yummy options for eating and living.
At the end of the afternoon, parents and kids alike were pumped up from the experience. “This was awesome! I have always prided myself in that my daughter has never eaten fast food, but I never knew there were so many vegetarian options. We will definitely be using these recipes. I mean, really, who could ever tell those cupcakes were vegan!” said Susan Robertson, who owns a gym in Frederick, Md.
“Mom, when we go camping now instead of making regular s’mores, we can make healthy s’mores with fruit? They were delicious,” said Robertson’s 8-year-old daughter, Dee.
The fair attracted a total of 60 people, a majority of whom were from the community and other local churches. Attendees learned not just how delicious healthy eating can be, but also that it can be fun to play with their food!
Yvonne Rozman, the church’s Personal Ministries leader, explained, “The fair was separated by different stations: For the ‘Power Up Breakfast,’ the kids got to try a carob breakfast smoothie which had frozen bananas, raw honey, almond milk, almond butter and carob powder; Most kids said it tasted like a peanut butter cup shake. At the ‘Juice Up With Aqua Power’ station, the kids got to enjoy water with ice cubes that had frozen berries in them, and learned about the importance of drinking water. At the ‘Beat Snack Attacks’ station, kids got to create healthy snacks by cutting out different shapes out of organic corn tortillas, misting them with olive oil and seasoning them, then baking them at 400 degrees for four minutes, creating their own corn chips. They also created fruit s’mores using whole wheat graham crackers, yogurt or cream cheese (we had dairy and non-dairy options) and topping with their favorite fruit.”
The event was two-fold. While the primary focus was on food, they also mixed it up with an exercise station. At the “Move Like a Superhero” station, church members and staff from a local gym conducted 30-minute classes for each group of 10 children, that included aerobic exercise and an introduction to gymnastics. Each station incorporated a Bible verse/Bible principle about physical and spiritual health.
Why have an event like this? Angela Ball, the church’s Health Ministries leader and coordinator of this event, said, “As [Seventh-day] Adventists, we are interested in the body and spirit of our church family and those in the community. This is a way to reach people for Christ by showing that we care for their health, and especially the health of their children.”
Rozman agreed, “Outreach through the health message is one of the most non-threatening ways to reach and get people to fellowship within the church without needing to attend a worship service per se. Who doesn’t want better health? We all want to be healthier personally and for our families. Events like this help us to build relationships and share the gospel through the health message that God has entrusted us with.”
Since 2011 the Middletown Valley church has held health programs and invited the community. The programs have included exercise classes and cooking classes focused on easy breakfast ideas and Asian and holiday cooking. The result is “we have made wonderful community friends through this health series,” Ball said.
One bonus of the children’s cooking fair was that church members got to invite local children to their August 1-3 Vacation Bible School. The attendees also got information from certified health professionals such as Ann Rivard and Ball who are nurses and Celinda Bauer, the church’s head deaconess, a dietician and teacher at nearby Highland View Academy in Hagerstown.
Rozman has one final tip to share: “If the kids participate, they will buy into it, if they are helping to prepare some of the food, so cook with your kids!”
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Kids and their parents listen closely as a Middletown Valley member teaches them how to make a smoothie that tastes like peanut butter chocolate.
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