The weather was cloudy and rainy Friday morning, but inside Riverhead Country Day School the pre-schoolers faces were bright and sunny as they looked over fruits and vegetables arranged in rainbow-like displays on platters.
The event was “Lunch Break for Kids” founded jointly by the Chef and Child Foundation and the makers of Hidden Valley Original Ranch dressings and dips.
The event is designed to showcase how simple food high in nutrition can make for healthier bodies.
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Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts chef/instructor Andrea Glick and a handful of students, who are members of the school’s American Culinary Club, were on hand to promote healthy lunches, healthy snacking and — ultimately for the children — how to make better choices.
They helped the children arrange the sliced veggies into figures the organizers called “superheroes,” and then dip them into ranch, cucumber and spinach and herb sauces. They followed that with a tumbler of a “Berry Blast,” a yogurt and fruit smoothie topped with fresh fruits.
The pre-schoolers hammed it up for Ms. Glick as she videotaped them with her iPad, screaming “Yeah vegetables! We want some vegetables!”
The Chef and Child Foundation started this initiative last year, with about 75 chefs across the country.
This year, organizers hope to get 1,000 chefs on board. They want chefs across the nation to volunteer and organize outreach events and to raise funds during the month of October to support childhood nutrition and nutrition-based education materials for kids and families.
The Suffolk culinary school’s chef and students have also held events at Little Flower, Suffolk County Girl Scouts and Southampton High School. In the next week they have plans to go to Wyandanch and Riverhead high schools.
Ms. Glick said of their involvement with the event, “I’m very happy to be passing on this message of healthy eating as well as being able to involve my students from SCCC and to create a generation of healthy eaters.”
Riverhead Country Day School director Cheryl Taormina was beaming as she watched the pre-schoolers enthusiastically chowing down on fruits and vegetables.
“Part of our mission is to teach the children how to live a healthy life,” she said. “So its important for us to teach them how to eat healthy and move their bodies.”