Students learn to connect what they eat with how they feel during hands-on cooking demonstration

Mood Boost program makes nutrition relatable

By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor

AAPS resident dietician Kristin Stewart knows that students’ eyes sometimes glaze over when a lesson about nutrition gets too science-heavy.

So when she gives a series of “Discovery Kitchens” demonstrations throughout the district this summer and into the fall, she makes sure the information easily hits home. This week at the Hikone Community Center, she and Chef Tim Connors showed how to make smoothies, using principles from Chartwells K12‘s Mood Boost” program that shows students that what they eat is connected to how they feel.

“We get kids to care about nutrition by making it fun for them and then helping them know the `why’s’,” said Stewart. “So for instance, we have a Moody called ‘I am strong.’ What is that to us? We talk about protein and muscle building, but for the students, that’s a little bit more sciency than we get. So we say, `Well yogurt has protein, which can help build our muscles when we’re trying to do pull-ups on the playground or we want to do a push-up contest with our friends.’ It teaches students that these different nutrients are important to them to do the fun things that they like to do every day, like play or ride their bikes.”

In the video below, Stewart and Connors help students climb onto the “blender bike” and use their own power to whip up nutrition-packed smoothies:

Launched nationwide in the fall of 2019, the Mood Boost program includes:

  • The “Moodies”, a series of six fun and engaging characters to help younger students recognize their different moods: alert, calm, confident, happy, smart, and strong.
  • Recipes kids love that prominently feature at least one significant ingredient per mood, such as Raspberries with Chocolate and Basil (alert), Broccoli Salad with Raisins (calm); and Red Kidney Bean Hummus (smart).
  • Giveaways including collectible trading cards that feature the Moodies, along with recipes kids and families can make at home.
The smoothies were a hit with these students at Hikone Community Center.
Chartwells Chef Tim Connors shows students how to make nutritious smoothies—with or without a blender.

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