Gulfport Students Fight Fat With Fruit

Kindergartners at Pass Road Elementary treated their parents to a song about the ABC's of healthy eating. After the performance, they helped unveil the Produce Corner in the school cafeteria. It's a stage filled with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, free for the picking every day, thanks to a federal grant.

Child Nutrition Director Debbie Chatagnier said "It'll amount to about $55.00 per child for the year to get extra fruits and vegetables all year long".

Fifth grader C.J. Jones had no problem finding his favorites. C.J. said "I picked a green apple, some sliced carrots because they make you see better, and a banana".

Kindergartner Madison Griggs said "I like carrots, apples, fruits, and some peas. I like tomatoes".

The new program exposes the children to fruits and vegetables they've probably never seen before and encourages the youngsters to give them a try.

C.J. said "The white pumpkin, and the eggplant. I've never had those before".  When asked if he wanted to try them, C.J. eagerly nodded.

Teachers say a fun, nutritious program, paired with a strong fitness routine, will help students fight the flab and lead healthier lifestyles at school and at home.

Madison said "They make me healthy, because I need to have strong bones".

Chatagnier said "Overall, I think their general fitness and well being, and also their academics will improve greatly".

The students get to enjoy the fruits and vegetables as a snack or for breakfast. But the program is not just about healthy eating. Teachers can use the produce market in their daily lessons, like showing kids how to weigh the veggies, plant the seeds, and create their own recipes.

By: Trang Pham-Bui