Is your child a “world snacker?”
Something’s going right when kids are eating more fruits and vegetables and consuming fewer cookies and chips. That’s what happens each year during the Medical City Children’s Hospital kids teaching kids® 21-Day Challenge.
This year, more than 250,000 children in 15 North Texas school districts will be encouraged to set the bar even higher and become “World Snackers” by participating in the 8th annual challenge. With new virtual features in place for the program, kids will be encouraged to try healthy recipes created by culinary students from North Texas schools that reflect world cultures.
The Medical City Children’s Hospital program was developed to help kids form lifelong healthy eating habits by reaching for healthier snack options, rich in whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and fruits and vegetables. Children document the healthy snacks they make for 21 consecutive days and are surveyed at the end of the challenge about changes in their snacking habits.
“With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, healthy eating for kids and their families is more important than ever,” said Jessica O’Neal, CEO of Medical City Children’s Hospital. “Medical City Children’s Hospital is proud to help teach and encourage children to establish vital healthy eating habits early in life.”
The program was created in 2010 in partnership with the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, Texas ProStart culinary programs, and school districts across North Texas. High school culinary students create healthy snack recipes while graphic arts and photography students design cookbooks especially for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. After last year’s challenge, 64% of participating students reported trying a new fruit or vegetable, cookie consumption dropped 13.1% and chip consumption decreased by 21.6%.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s campaign is going virtual. For the first time, participants will have access to a fully digital book filled with student created recipes and fun videos made by kids showing how to make the snacks. The ADA compliant book, in English and Spanish, aims for families to work together making healthy recipes inspired by cultures from around the world. Kids will track their daily snacks and progress on a virtual dashboard, while their teachers reinforce great habits via online or in-person classes.
To further encourage school participation, the 21-Day Challenge features competition within each school district, enabling participating schools to earn funds from the program’s corporate supporters. This past year, the program distributed $72,000 to North Texas school districts for healthy eating improvements. Sponsors of the healthy eating challenge include Kroger, Reliant, and United Way Metropolitan Dallas.
Sign-up for participating districts opens October 19. The kids teaching kids 21-Day Challenge takes place November 2-22.
Additionally, several North Texas companies and hundreds of employees will join area school children in the 21-Day Challenge @work program, which encourages healthier eating habits in the workplace.
For more information about the Medical City Children’s Hospital kids teaching kids program, visit kids-teaching-kids.com.