HARLINGEN — Nathaniel Garcia has just learned a tasteful way to replace the water in his body.
The Treasure Hills fourth grader learned at the Kids in the Kitchen event Saturday at Treasure Hills Elementary School that the human body is made of about 80 percent water. Fruit is a good way to replace that water as it’s lost.
“I like it and it’s really fun, really cool,” said Nathaniel, 9. “I got to learn about what’s healthy for me.”
Nathaniel was in one of the many stations set up around Treasure Hills Elementary where about 130 children from Crockett, Lamar, Travis and Sam Houston, as well as Treasure Hills, elementary schools were learning about healthy habits. The three-hour event was sponsored by the Junior League of Harlingen, said Amanda Montemayor, chairwoman of the event.
“We have fourth and fifth graders,” Montemayor said. “We are focusing on educating the students how to live a healthy lifestyle. We have Zumba, we have dental hygiene, healthy cooking, making a turkey wrap and fruit kebabs, fruit smoothies and Healthy Nut Bingo.”
Numerous organizations gave presentations.
Nathaniel was in the class where students from the Early College High School were teaching children how to make fruit kebabs and turkey wraps. The high school students passed out grapes, cantaloupe and other fruits to skewer on a wooden stick. Some of the students, like Michelle Marie Andrade, 9, were in the habit of eating healthy snacks.
“I eat grapes,” said Michelle Marie, a fourth grader at Treasure Hills who nibbled on a chunk of cantaloupe impaled on a stick. She said that she felt like she learned new things, like the difference between good sugars and bad sugars. She also learned about the importance of exercise.
At the school’s gym children ran from one end to the other and back. The station was presented by Renea and George Perez, owners of The Bod Squad Training, who cheered them on.
“We are just getting them to have fun and try to realize they can have a good time just doing a 10 to 15 minute cardio-vascular workout,” said Renea Perez. “Kids, there’s a lot of obesity, especially here in the Valley. We’re making it fun instead of a chore.”
Students from Texas State Technical College taught children about dental hygiene in the school library.
A group of children playing “Health Nut Bingo” sat at tables arranged in the shape of a U. A little girl had a sheet of paper in front of her with squares containing words like yogurt, tuna, apple sauce and skim milk. A group of white nuts sat nearby.
“OK,” said the woman giving the presentation. “Saturated fat. Is that good or bad?”
“Bad,” answered the children.
“It’s one of the bad words,” she agreed. She then called out the word “sodium” and asked the children if they knew what it was. They all knew it was salt.
“Is that something we want a lot in our diet or a little bit?” the woman asked.
“A little bit,” they answered.
Illary Rocha, 10, was learning a new way to make smoothies. She rated the event as “awesome.”
at another station.
“My mom and my sister make banana smoothies,” said Illary, a fifth grader at Travis Elementary. “I am going to tell mom to get juice and mix it with the fruits and put it in a blender and drink them.”
Monica Torres, one of those working with the children, explained that the children were learning to measure two cups of strawberries, one cup of orange juice and one chopped banana to make a smoothie in a blender, also known as a licuado.
Illary said that she rated the event as “awesome.”
“I learned that I also can be healthy and that juice and fruits are nutritious,” she said.