Eating healthy can be fun and yummy

To the Editor:

Hello Islanders. Our names are Tyla Packish and Jada Randolph. We are sixth grade students at the Oak Bluffs School, and we are the presidents of the newly organized “Organic Island Peeps” at our school.

At our school, we encourage healthy treats as snacks and for birthday celebrations. We push them so hard, yet students still bring in cupcakes, ice cream, and all kinds of cavity-growing items. Another observation we have made is kids our age are not eating enough fruits and veggies. We think that if the food looks amazing and appetizing then maybe kids will want to eat it. Most students look at things and go “Eww,” or “I don’t like that!” Even if they haven’t even tried it. We think it is time to make a change and want to show kids eating healthy can be fun and yummy.

There is a great new project we are currently working on in the 6th grade. It is called “Food Art.”  Maybe you have heard of it before. Our technology teacher, Kathy Flynn, and our art teacher, Kim O’Connor, have designed a course that teaches us about healthier junk food alternatives. We are creating works of art with fruits and vegetables. They are beautiful and delicious like a Mona Lisa painting.

In technology class, we use the Internet to learn about the advantages of eating organic food. We look at pictures, websites, and recipes that give us ideas on creating our own original recipes for tasty treats that use fruits and vegetables. We have also learned about how processed foods are colored with chemicals that can be unhealthy. We are currently finding recipes on how to naturally dye things with fruits and vegetables.

In art class, we have created beautiful pencil drawings of our “Food Art” concepts. We have taken our drawings and brought them to life. Every 6th grade class is broken into 3–4 groups. Each group has developed a theme. The groups have to design their organic food art, create a shopping list, and prepare their recipes in class. Some of the themes are: seasons, sports, animals, boats, the circus, and confections and cakes.

We’ve made hedgehogs out of watermelon and grapes, basketballs out of melons and raisins, circus trains carved from cucumbers, three-layer cakes made with different types of melons. They were was so delicious and everybody was begging for more!

This project will continue into the 2014-2015 school year. We will be compiling and publishing a recipe book to share with our school community. One of our classmates will be illustrating the cover. The book will contain original recipes and illustrations created by the sixth grade. Our book will have website references and resources to help give people ideas. Everyone will know these sweet and sensational recipes in no time!

Sometimes a savory treat is okay once and a while — but not all the time. I bet not everyone gets their 5 (I thinks it’s 5) serving of fruits and vegetables a day! It’s just like how we don’t all drink 8 whole cups of water a day.

We hope our letter is published so we can let people know what we are doing at our school to eat healthier. We want to spread the word to the Island community and our schools. Give it a try, you might like it. It’s all worth it in the end!

If you want to know more about our “Food Art” Project, please send an email to our teacher, Ms. Flynn at organicislandpeeps@gmail.com.

Think organic.

Tyla Packish and Jada Randolph (with some editing help from Ms. Flynn)

Organic Island Peeps