History of Nutrition Education
TABLE has been educating local children about nutrition and healthy eating habits for over 10 years. We are dedicated to ensuring the children we serve learn about the importance of eating healthy, are given the ability to try new foods, and have fun in the kitchen! Here is a look at the programs we have implemented over the years to meet the desires and needs of the children and families we serve.
SnackChef was TABLE’s original nutrition education program. It brought together UNC students and community member volunteers who, each week, taught children in local after school programs about nutrition, showed them how to prepare healthy snacks, and instilled in them the importance of healthy eating. The program encouraged children to try new foods, especially fruits and vegetables, so they could experience the benefits of a diet composed of a variety of healthy foods.
We served 5 local after school centers weekly for a total of 97 SnackChef sessions from the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year through the first week of March 2020. In total, we worked with 190 children per month and provided a total of 7,047 snacks. We were on track to conduct a total of 137 sessions and serve 9,912 snacks by the end of the April 2020, however, the closure of CHCCS schools and UNC due to COVID-19 forced the early suspension of SnackChef for the 2019-2020 school year.
TABLE On the Go
TABLE On the Go was introduced in 2015 offering children the opportunity to visit local farms and gardens, farmer’s markets, and community kitchens so they can learn about healthy food, their community and where their food comes from. For many of the children we serve, this was one of the only opportunities to go on field trips outside of school.
- Partnerships with local organizations like 1870 Farm, UUMC’s Giving Garden, Kidzu, and many others enabled us to teach the children we serve about local food and healthy cooking.
- TABLE On the Go enabled us to build upon the skills we taught in SnackChef by allowing children the opportunity to directly interact with the lessons they were being taught and provide valuable learning experiences for children outside of the classroom.
- We were able to offer unique experiences to the children we serve through partnerships with community businesses such as Midway Community Kitchen, where children learned how to make fun and healthy recipes, including beet pancakes and carrot hummus, all while experiencing cooking in a commercial kitchen!
Family Farm Days at Wildflower Lane
TABLE created this program in the summer of 2020 to provide families with an opportunity to visit a local farm together and participate in a variety of activities while at the farm. These activities included harvesting vegetables for kids we serve, painting ceramic pots, taking home seeds to plant, farm tours, enjoying a new summer treat. We hosted three Family Farm Days from June – October 2020 that were attended by a mix of our participating families, volunteer families and donor families. We hope to continue this tradition in the summer of 2021.
Wellness Detectives was created in summer 2020 as a remote nutrition education program distributed through the Weekend Meal Backpack program. It was a fun and interactive program developed to encourage children and their parents to make healthy choices regarding nutrition and physical activity. Each week families received a mission to complete together such as new recipes along with fresh food ingredients in the bags they received. The program lasted four weeks and at the end, participants received a prize for completing each mission.