As a teacher, you have a unique role in shaping America’s future. Help fight obesity and build better brains by bringing kale (along with other superfoods) into your classroom!
Kale is a perfect example of a nutrient-dense healthy food, yet few children eat it regularly. Teaching your students about the health benefits of kale during their formative years can help students create life-long habits and love for healthy eating.
Science, Cooking, and horticulture classes can be the appropriate channels to talk about health, food, and gardening. Please download our teaching tools, register your National Kale Day activity, and join the celebration this October!
How Teachers to be a Kale Heroes
- Add kale to your class curriculum (general nutrition, cooking or for the science buffs) and learn about the molecular make-up of kale.
- Have your class do a kale tasting or prepare easy kale chips in the cafeteria.
- Grow kale in your school’s garden or playground with this niffy kale tower that requires little space and no land.
- Plan a farming field trip.
- Or take the class to a farmer’s market so they can learn how to shop one.
- Have show and tell with vegetables, then create a menu with the class.
- Help your school serve kale for lunch.
- Integrate horticulture into your science, home ec, or independent studies, classes. Partner with a farm to help run the class.
- Help your school serve kale for lunch.
Learn more about kale’s health properties and chemical make up.
Kale Heroes in the School System
by Julie Holbrook from Keene School, New York
We serve kale at least twice a week in both of our schools, Keene Central School in Keene Valley New York and in Schroon Lake Central School in Schroon Lake. In Keene, kale chips are the most popular form of kale that we serve, but they are warming to kale slaw. In “Schroon” area, their favorite is kale slaw. We also serve kale in “stealth form” in soups, sauces, etc by blending it in the food processor and adding it as we are cooking. In Keene also we grow lots of kale in our school garden and the students are often asked to pick us some for lunch. Their favorite thing is when we serve a community Thanksgiving dinner and they help us by picking the kale and helping to cook it and by serving it to their parents and community members.
We had a “back to school” dinner the other night and something very interesting happened. We served tomatoes and a student asked the person serving for a little piece of one and their parent standing behind her said to the server “she doesn’t like tomatoes” and the student told his parent, ” I am just doing a “try me bite”. I may like it someday”. That has been our mantra, we are tenacious and passionate about getting children to start eating healthy. We believe that everyone, adults included, with our modern society, need lots of encouragement to overcome their “processed palates” that don’t allow them to appreciate the real taste of food. In Keene, we are a K-12 school and every student from sixth grade down to kindergarten has never experienced processed food in our school cafeteria. It is just not an option. We serve an enormous amount of vegetables and fruit every day, mostly in its raw form on a salad bar. Being a k-12 school, we have hungry teenagers that in the afternoon often come into the cafeteria for “leftovers” and we often only offer them vegetables and they eat it because that is the only thing that we are offering for “free”. A school, like a home environment has a captive audience of hungry kids that can learn to like or love their veggies.
Now, my youngest child is just entering college. I am a bug about no processed food in my house. All of my children have begged me through the years to just bring “something in a box” home. I never have. Now I have to send them food to college so that they can eat!
Food education should be a core curriculum. How can we possible expect students to know why eating well is important when their parents have no idea how food impacts how they feel, think and perform? Sometimes it goes back many generations, this disconnect. We are bombarded with pharmaceutical advertisement that brainwashes us to believe that drugs are the only thing that will make us feel good as long as we don’t mind the fifty side effects. I have found that real, whole foods, like vegetables and fruits, has only a good side effect!