Food Revolution! Free Fruit Friday & Cardio Carnival: Creating Healthy Schools

Tired of the ice cream vendors, soda machines and unhealthy cafeteria food at your school?

Take matters into your own hands and put on Free Fruit Friday & Cardio Carnival at your school!

Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, I got together with the other parents at my son’s public school to create the healthiest, MOST attended after-school Friday celebration ever!

Alexandra Jamieson Food Revolution Day

When my son started attending kindergarten at our local Brooklyn public school, I joined the Wellness Committee.

A small group of parents, plus the dedicated librarian, applied for and won a health grant of $2500 from the city, and we decided to use part of it to put on a Cardio Carnival. The local YMCA, who runs our after school programs, came on board to teach a Hip Hop dance class and a Zumba class – to parents, teachers, and kids alike.

Cardio Carnival Food Revolution DAy

Normally, Fridays include Bingo, prizes and pizza.

For about $750, our school was able to provide a healthy, fun night of dance, friends, and great food.

Our Free Fruit Friday plan included free organic fruit handed out to the families when parents picked up their young ones after school. With the sun shining down on our courtyard, the glistening oranges and apples were a huge hit and all the fruit was snapped up by happy, hungry kids.

Free Fruit Friday Food Revolution DayFree Fruit Friday - Food Revolution Day

(*Thanks to all of you who donated between $1-$5 to help buy more fruit for the FFF! The kids LOVED IT!)

At 5pm, families returned to the school gym for a rockin’ Hip Hop dance class – you know the class is a hit when parents join in and 5th grade boys throw themselves in the mix and dance in public!

Free Fruit Friday & Cardio Carnival Dance

After the dance class, kids and their folks ran to our Build Your Own Burrito Bar with tortillas, beans, rice, tomatoes, avocados and toppings. The food was healthy, fresh, and only cost $300 to feel over 100 people.

Cardio Carnival Build Your Own Burrito Bar - Food Revolution Day

During Zumba class, kids could also run in relay races outside, and an after-dinner Green Smoothie bar served refreshing drinks instead of soda.

Cardio Carnival Green Smoothie Bar For Food Revolution Day!

Cardio Carnival Green Smoothie Bar For Food Revolution Day!

Cardio Carnival Green Smoothies for Food Revolution Day!

Cardio Carnival Green Smoothies for Food Revolution Day!

Green Smoothie Recipe:

1 banana

1 cup frozen wild blueberries

4-5 kale leaves

1 1/2 cup water

* Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Cardio Carnival Green Smoothies for Food Revolution Day!

Cardio Carnival Green Smoothies for Food Revolution Day!

The FFF and CC was a huge hit – our school wants to do it again next year!

Inspired? Put on your own! Let me know if you put together a night like this for your school, and send me some pictures or post to Facebook.

Free Fruit Friday & Cardio Carnival Relay - Jump For Joy! It's Food Revolution Day!

Free Fruit Friday & Cardio Carnival Relay – Jump For Joy! It’s Food Revolution Day!

Here’s to your health!

XO, Alex

Join me and Jamie Oliver: Food Revolution May 18th!

Parents are annoyed and kids are whining.

 

The Ice Cream Guys are waiting for us, like every weekday, at the exit from school.

Some parents buy the ice cream for their kids on a regular basis, no questions asked. Other kids get it after whining and wearing down their parents into submission. My kid has never had one – I bring fresh fruit or a cold coconut water drink because I know he’ll be hungry.

 

I have a plan to inspire the families to say no to the ice cream guys and yes to real, healthy food.

 

Will You Donate $1-$5? 

Help me give the kids of PS 295 a free organic fruit snack after school for our Cardio Carnival on Friday, May 18th, in honor of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day.

 

I see the challenges parents and schools with healthy intentions. Our “food environment” is plagued with commercials aimed at kids to support the idea that junk food is cool.

 

Most school budgets allows for $.97 a day per kid for food, so of course schools rely on subsidized junk food from the USDA, a lot of which is the infamous “pink slime” meat, hormone-filled dairy, and few fresh fruit and veggie options.

 

Since Super Size Me hit theaters in 2003, my awareness of the obesity epidemic has shifted from “fast food is the bad guy” to “advertising to kids is evil” and back again.

 

Now I see the challenge is much bigger and more complicated. Yes, I believe we should ban certain advertising messages to children.

 

Québec banned print and broadcast ads aimed at kids under thirteen, and Sweden banned ads aimed at children under 12.

 

According to Consumer Reports magazine, “young children have difficulty distinguishing between advertising and reality in ads, and ads can distort their view of the world.”

 

US public schools should also get more money so they can serve healthy meals to kids that provide real nutrition, not just enough calories.

 

I said as much in the new documentary Lunch Hour, which just received the special jury prize at the Palm Beach International Film Festival (watch the preview here).

 

But there’s more to be done.

 

I joined the Wellness Committee at my son’s public school here in Brooklyn, and we’re putting on a Cardio Carnival this month.

 

Families will enjoy a free night of games and have a night of energized fun, while we provide a “Burrito Bar” for dinner, instead of the regular pizza treats.

 

We have some money from a city grant for this event, but I want to make the impact bigger – not just showing families that they can have a fun night of fitness and healthy, yummy food…

 

That we can also make better choices with our kids for their snacks and after school treats.

 

Will you donate $1 to $5 to my Cardio Carnival Campaign?

The money will go directly to providing organic fruit snacks to NYC public school children.