Intermediate students move in a healthy direction

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OCEAN CITY — When she announced the “Let’s Move!” campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama said she was going to need everyone’s time and talent to solve the childhood obesity epidemic.

Because of their deep knowledge of foods and nutrition and standing in the community, our nation’s chefs, she noted, have “tremendous power” as leaders on this issue.

Through the Chef’s Move to Schools initiative, chefs across the country answered the call to get involved.

Chef Anne Marie Chelius – a.k.a. the “Queen of Lean” – of Atlantic Community College “adopted” consumer and family science teacher Linda Spengler’s classes at the Ocean City Intermediate School and is now a regular visitor.

Run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program calls on chefs like Chelius to work with teachers, parents, school nutritionists and administrators to educate children and show that nutrition can be fun.

Hoping to solve obesity within a generation, the program pairs the chefs with schools with the mission of collaboratively educating children about food and proper nutrition.

Last week, the chef/educator made an appearance at the school to demonstrate how to make fresh tomato soup and homemade croutons and to enlist a group of fourth grade students in a video, performing a rap song about the merits of good nutrition.

“The kids just love it when chef Chelius comes to visit,” Spengler said. “They were so excited about the video. We’re getting the word out about how important it is to eat healthy.”

The video was for the Healthy New Year Video Challenge, by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

“We had less than a week to get it together,” Spengler said.

Chelius took the lead with the rap song bringing in each of the students who were holding a healthy food. Students fit the part by donning white chef hats, each boasting a fresh carrot.

“That’s the message, to eat healthy. We focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, proteins and the importance of a balanced diet,” Spengler said.

Chelius, she said, uses her culinary creativity and knowledge, engaging students learn how to plan and prepare healthy meals. The tomato soup was made with canned tomato sauce – which Chelius says has less sugar than the jarred variety – fresh basil and low-fat half and half.

Students sprinkled homemade croutons on top, which were made with shredded wheat, olive oil and parmesan cheese.

Chelius explained what she was doing and why as the soup progressed.

“You want to stay in good shape, eat healthy and exercise a lot,” she said. “You have to get enough sleep so you feel good! If you don’t feel good, you’re not going to do very well in school.”

Spengler said her students look forward to Chelius visiting.

“She has a lot of personality, and she really gets the kids involved,” Spengler said.

With Chelius’ involvement, Spengler applied for and received a $2,000 grant from the Partnership for a Healthier America, awarded to schools that promote healthier lifestyles through participation with the “Let’s Move!” initiative.

The money was utilized to purchase safe, easy-to-use All-Clad stainless steel cooking equipment, including an induction burner used to heat the tomato soup, sauté and sauce pans, skillets and a special Acti-fry pan which will be utilized on Chelius’ next visit to make healthy French fries.

“People think of French fries, and think they’re made with a lot of fat, but they don’t have to be,” she said. “You can make French fries with two tablespoons of fat with this pan. It’s healthy frying and there are all kinds of main dishes that you can make with this pan.”

“Chef Chelius visited us before Christmas and we made gingerbread houses,” Spengler said.

Using Wasa crackers, Triscuits, fresh basil, dill, Belgium endive, asparagus, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumbers, and an assortment of other garden fresh fruits and vegetables, Chelius constructed a savory holiday farmhouse with the help of the students.

“They used low-fat cream cheese to keep it together,” Spengler said.

“She’s a very well respected chef educator at ACC, we work well together and the kids just love her,” Spengler said. “We’re very fortunate that she is able to share her expertise with us.”

Chef Anne Marie Chelius is the chef educator paired with Linda Spengler’s consumer and family science classes at Ocean City Intermediate School as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chef’s Move to Schools initiative, an effort to curb obesity in children. Chef Anne Marie Chelius is the chef educator paired with Linda Spengler’s consumer and family science classes at Ocean City Intermediate School as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chef’s Move to Schools initiative, an effort to curb obesity in children.

 


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