Kendra McGregory peels carrots, Ainsley Davis slices peppers and Lara Brown cuts tomatoes as Naomi Fulton prepares the vegetable tray that they are making.

HOUSTON • Some area youth were recently given hands on experience in the kitchen thanks to the “Fun with Food” program at the Mississippi State Extension Service.

The program, which was a three-day program, was centered around healthy eating and it sought to offer a fun and inventive way to encourage healthy eating habits in kids.

The course was taught by Naomi Fulton of the Extension Service.

“Fun with Food is a program that we do with 4th-6th graders, and a majority of the time we do it during summer time when the kids are off from school,” said Fulton. “It’s just a little program to teach them the importance of eating health, not only eating healthy, but also making healthy food choices and also encouraging them to try different types of food and to do physical activity and follow a recipe as well.”

Eating healthy is a necessity for children who are still developing, but, many miss out on key nutrients for a variety of reasons, and this program seeks to help bridge that gap a little bit and hopefully encourage healthy behaviors in the youth.

“Hopefully at an early age, exposing them to a different kinds of foods and different types of material, can help them to try the different foods and remind them of how important it is to eat healthy. A lot of people don’t realize that food plays a big role when it comes to your overall health. Learning about the right foods to eat and the benefits of these foods and how they can help them is really good, so hopefully starting at a young age will plant the seed in them and they will know about it and continue and spread it to other people as well. There’s only so much we as educators can do, but if we educate others they can go out and tell other people and encourage them.”

The kids learned a variety of topics on the first day including the different fruits and vegetables and proper knife handling techniques.

“I learned how to use a knife correctly,” said Lara Brown.

Another student spoke about her experiences.

“I learned how to be safe in the kitchen and how to carve vegetables,” said Kendra McGregory.

The last student was ready to take the culinary world by storm.

“I learned how to cut a pepper,” said Ainsley Davis with the confidence of a seasoned chef.

When asked if they had fun, all three girls answered with a resounding “Yes!”

The produce was supplied for the program by Brooks Farms.

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