Health in Motion: Time to Healthy Snack UP with Urban Pathways K-5 College Charter School
Mar 15

Health in Motion: Time to Healthy Snack UP with Urban Pathways K-5 College Charter School

By Linda Williams, Yoga Instructor

Brought you by Let’s Move Pittsburgh, the Health in Motion blog series is intended to showcase the efforts of schools and community organizations in the Pittsburgh region who are leading children to a healthier future. A new project with a guest author or interviewee will be featured each month. Let’s Move Pittsburgh hopes that Health in Motion will encourage leaders to adopt healthy programs in their communities and inspire readers to make healthy changes in their own lives.

Our school, Urban Pathways K-5 College Charter School has embraced practicing a healthy lifestyle by providing healthy fruits and vegetables along with exercise to its students since its inception.

Funding from the Let’s Move Pittsburgh grant helped support our healthy lifestyle efforts allowing us to implement the Time to Healthy Snack "UP" program. Our program is offered during the school day and supports students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Research shows that proper nutritional support is important to allow the brain to function at its highest ability and to enhance learning. Experts also state that students do not need expensive foods to succeed, instead, healthful nutritional habits learned early in life help ensure normal physiological and neurological growth and development. This translates into students achieving optimal learning also defined as the ability to recall information, to problem solve, and to think critically. To meet the student’s needs for sustenance within the classroom, our school currently operates a healthy snack program each week that includes fresh fruits and vegetables three days per week. Funding from the Let’s Move Pittsburgh Grant offers a healthy complement to our already existing program, allowing for additional fresh fruits and vegetables to be offered to our students.

Each year as the Yoga Instructor, I strive to add additional healthy lifestyle initiatives to our repertoire. To date, our students are exposed to: Yoga; physical activity; fresh fruits and vegetables; the Children’s Marathon; educational information and games about exercise and healthy eating; and our newest addition, healthy smoothies. Urban Pathways K-5 College Charter School has made this healthy initiative part of the schoolwide plan. Development of the whole child really encompasses the school’s mission where students become Leaders Building Pathways for Success.  We have an awesome tag team between myself and Mrs. Macklin; she writes the grants and I help to implement them. We were recently awarded a NutriBullet University grant that our fourth and fifth grade students are truly enjoying. Each morning they approach our smoothie bar with anticipation, then they begin to fill up their bullets with fruits and vegetables from the predetermined recipes provided. Our students are accustomed to trying new food while at school, they know that it is inappropriate to say, “This is nasty.” We prefer they say one of the three statements below about their smoothie experience:

Hold up 1 thumb and say, “Gotta get used to it.” Ramyah (4th grader)
Hold up 1 hand and say, “Like it.” – Tre-Maire (4th grader)
Hold up 2 hands and say, “Love it.” – Juanay (5th grader)

We will continue to encourage our students to practice living a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and eating healthy at school and at home. Go team UP!