Playing with food teaches good nutrition in Pacoima

PACOIMA, Calif. (KABC) -- Your mother may have told you not to play with your food, but educators say it might be a creative way to get your kids to eat their broccoli.

Students at a Pacoima Elementary School learned a lot and had fun all while learning about eating healthier.

The Nutrition Olympics are underway, and the winner learns which foods keep them healthy!

"Strawberries, carrots, bananas, apples!" said 8-year-old Bridget Ochoa. Bobbing for apples isn't how Ochoa usually gets her fruit, but she's learning the fun way to eat fresh.

"You have to eat a lot of healthy stuff so you can get energy," said Ochoa.

Students at Guardian Angel Catholic School in Pacoima learn going for the golden delicious is better than gold.

"They're healthy for you and you should eat them all the time," said student Genesis Galindo.

Providence Health & Services student nurses are targeting schools in neighborhoods where affordable produce isn't always readily available.

Outreach Assistant Ruben Soria said, "It's fun, right? It's very interactive. It's a fun way for them to think about food and vegetables."

As these kids lift cantaloupes as weights, they're also learning a lot about nutrition.

Volunteers ask them questions like, "What vegetable looks like a tree?" The answer: broccoli. Another question: What does Olaf use as a nose? A carrot.

Fun facts about fruits and veggies are lessons that will hopefully stick through the summer. Educators hope when the kids get home, they'll teach their parents, too.

"We are trying to educate and change the cultural thinking of how to eat," said Soria.

We asked 7-year-old Anthony Garcia if his mom lets him play with his food at home. "No!" he answered. Fishing for fruit is now Garcia's favorite sport.

"I'm gonna put a bucket full of water and put some apples in it and dunk my face in it," Garcia said.

The best part? He'll eat more apples and other healthy snacks, too.
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