Want to Be Super Smart? Eat Your Eggplant!

Chef Ann, Sweet Pea, and Roger the Super Hero Trainer at Super Sprowtz at Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer’s Super Hero Salad Bar kick off.

That’s just one of the many super powers gained when you eat your veggies.

So learned Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer students in grades K-2 during the launch of the school’s “Super Hero” salad bar.

The “Eat Your Super Powers!” event featured Super Hero Trainer, Roger—a self-proclaimed ‘Big Silly Guy’, and super veggie of the day, Suzy Sweet Pea—known for her super speed, both of the Super Sprowtz Lunchroom initiative.

Suzy Sweet Pea and Super Hero Trainer, Roger, explain the super powers gotten when you eat vegetables.

Suzy Sweet Pea and Roger the Super Hero Trainer explain the super powers gotten when you eat vegetables.

Super Sprowtz currently reaches one million families through multi-media channels, live shows, permanent museum exhibit, mobile app, educational products and curriculum, and school, grocery store and hospital programs.

Chef Ann Cooper, Director of Food Services for BVSD and known for bringing healthy lunches to Boulder Valley Schools, was on hand to celebrate the event with an all-school “Make a Rainbow on Your Plate” activity at the lunchtime salad bar.

Chef Ann Cooper and Super Hero Salad Bar

Chef Ann Cooper and Super Hero Salad Bar

The goal: get kids to say ‘nay’ to processed mac ‘n cheese, and ‘Yay!’ to fruits and veggies.

Does Adding Puppets, Larger-than-Life Characters, Song, Dance and Multimedia Entertainment Work?

Apparently, yes.

After placing Super Hero Salad Bars in 100 elementary schools in New York City, a study with Cornell University showed the effort created a whopping 250 percent increase in kids eating vegetables.

Students show off the colors of the rainbow on their plate during the Make a Rainbow event celebrating the new Super Hero Salad Bar at Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer.

Students during the Make a Rainbow event celebrating the new Super Hero Salad Bar at Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer.

You may be surprised, but Tony the Tiger would take it in stride. This is the same kind of marketing has been used by food giants for decades—only this time the sell is a bit tougher, since, most kids shun foods that are wholesome and healthy. Ask any parent, even those who are the healthiest eaters themselves. We resort to all kinds of tactics to get those veggies into our kids tummies.

Boulder Leads the Way—Again

Today, thanks to dedicated parents and a Renegade Lunch Lady on a mission (aka Chef Ann), Boulder Valley schools have a leading edge, cook-from-scratch food service program.

On the forefront of the movement since 2006 is Mara Fleishman, Executive Director of the Chef Ann Foundation. She was one of a small committee of parents that worked with the school district to change school food. They brought Chef Ann out from California, and the food service program we have today took flight.

Super Hero Salad Bar

A recent study by Cornell University showed the Super Hero salad bars and Super Sprowtz effort increased vegetable eaten at school by 250 percent.

With the passage of the recent bond issue the funds are now in place to build a central kitchen, cementing the long-term commitment to Boulder Valley school kids that they will be served healthy foods at school.

And, Chef Ann’s mission goes beyond the Rocky Mountains. Through the Chef Ann Foundation, there are now “4,000 salad bars in schools across the country, and they raised $10 million to do it,” she says.

“We try to re-create the program here in Boulder in schools across the country, creating healthier school food,” says Fleishman.

In fact, Chef Ann and foundation executive director Fleishman were flying to Baltimore that afternoon to celebrate the accomplishment with Sam Kass, Exec. Director of Let’s Move, and the chef who says he fed President Obama and his family super powers for many years.

Make a Rainbow Day

Every student gets to visit the school salad bar and put at least three colors on their plate, at least one day of every semester at Boulder Valley’s elementary and K-8 schools. Even students who bring their lunch are invited to try the salad bar for free on Make a Rainbow Days.

Today’s salad bar featured roasted parsnips from Domenico Farms in the farm to school program, as well as Super Smart power giver: roasted eggplant.

Kristin Nelson-Steinhoff, Principal of Pioneer; Suzy Sweet Pea; Ann Cooper, Director of BVSD Food Services; Jennie Belval, BVSD Board of Education; Mayor Christine Berg, City of Lafayette

Kristin Nelson-Steinhoff, Principal of Pioneer; Suzy Sweet Pea; Ann Cooper, Director of BVSD Food Services; Jennie Belval, BVSD Board of Education; Mayor Christine Berg, City of Lafayette

Back to the Super Heroes

So you can be in Super Hero training yourself, here’s is a partial listing of the cast of Super Heroes and their Super Powers:

  • Suzy Sweet Pea – Super Speedy
  • Zach Zuchinni – Super Swimmer
  • Brian Broccoli – Super Strong
  • Todd Tomato – Super Safe
  • Erica Eggplant – Super Smart

See video of the event here.

See these previous posts for more local information:

From Our Lands to Your Hands

Kids Eat Locally Grown at Aspen Creek K-8

How Boulder Valley Schools Got Fed Up & Changed for the Better

Learn more

Make a Rainbow Day

BVSD School Food Project

Chef Ann Foundation

Super Sprowtz

 

 

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