By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Healthy habits are established at an early age, that’s why the Peterson Health and Wellness Center is sponsoring a program to teach kids about healthy living.
The 5210 Let’s Go! program is a national program based out of Maine. Staff Sgt. Ronneisha Sargent, HAWC dietary therapist, said the program promotes healthy daily living through five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, less than two hours of screen time, one hour of physical activity, and no sugary drinks, including juice and soda.
“We want to break the cycle and get (children) healthy from the beginning, so they’ll be able to do that for the rest of their lives. It will be the norm to them to exercise every day, to choose more vegetables,” she said.
To jumpstart the program, the HAWC is sponsoring a weekly, healthy meal scavenger hunt at the commissary. “We’re going to have a table in the front of the commissary,” Sargent said. “It’s going to have some handout information for parents and it’s going to have recipe cards and the scavenger hunt (map) so the kids can maneuver their way through the commissary and find the healthy ingredients and go home to make their own healthy meal.”
Every week a new laminated recipe card will be featured so kids can collect them and make their own recipe book. “One day it may be a dessert, one day it may be an entrée, one day it may be a healthy side. They’re all fun, they’re all kid friendly. It’s things they can do with their little hands,” she said.
Sargent hopes that parents will talk to their kids as they pick out ingredients about why certain items are a healthy choice. One of the recipes, Sargent said, calls for a whole wheat English muffin which provides more fiber and nutritional value than a traditional English muffin. “I want it to be all-around learning — reading, being able to follow directions, being able to find things, being able to talk about different healthy foods,” she said.
If the program is successful, Sargent hopes to host some cooking classes for kids at the HAWC. “I want them to be able to choose healthy foods,” she said, versus eating broccoli only because mom said to.
More information about the 5210 Let’s Go! program will be pushed out to parents through the child development centers at Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases, and at the pediatric clinic.
For more information, call 556-4292 or visit www.letsgo.org.