Healthy Highway Helps Form Fit Families

The road to healthy eating can be difficult to navigate, but a former teacher says she can help.

News 8's Tina Shively shows us the Healthy Highway in today's MVP Fit Families report.

Former Phys-Ed teacher Wendy Cooper puts her students at English Village Elementary on the road to success with her nutrition program, called Healthy Highway.

Cooper said "The children learn that they are cars, I find they take better care of their engines then they do their bodies. They understand they need to put good fuels in their engines. So we talk about the different food groups as different fuels and what the fuels will do."

The travel theme includes 6 road signs Cooper uses to teach kids what to eat and what not to eat.

There are green light foods that can be part of your everyday diet, yellow light foods you should yield to, and red light foods. They're the ones to avoid, like ice cream and potato chips.

Cafeteria Director Leslie O'Keefe says she's seen a change in what the children choose since the program started 3 years ago.

She added "I've seen a lot of children take that salad over french fries on many occasions and they ask us 'Am I on a healthy highway?' so its been great for us."

Students who complete the program get license plates as their reward.

Three schools are currently getting what Cooper calls the green light to good health with the program, but it's not limited to just their cafeterias.

"The Healthy Highway is in the gymnasium where they can do different activities like the banana peel, the apple core," said Cooper."Children enjoy it, families can adapt to it, teachers find it very easy to take their own objectives and then now incorporate the nutrition and exercise aspects with it, and it works, it's a lot of fun."

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