Schooled About Sugar

“One, two, three,” counted 2nd graders in Mrs. Crisanti’s class as Amanda Kilbury from Cornell Cooperative Extension poured tablespoons of sugar into a plastic cup.

“Ten, eleven, twelve,” the children continued as Kilbury, who was teaching children about healthy drink choices, kept pouring.

“Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen,” the children counted as Kilbury finally stopped and held up the cup with 19 tablespoons of sugar in it. 
“That’s how much extra sugar is in this bottle of soda,” said Kilbury as she held up a 20-oz. bottle of Mountain Dew.
A woman standing as a class full of young students sits on a rug 

The exercise is part of Kilbury’s lesson to show children how much added sugar is or is not in some of the most common drinks such as soda, chocolate milk and water.

“They’re usually surprised at how much sugar they’re drinking so that visual gives them an idea. I just hope they’re taking that in and developing healthy habits now,” said Kilbury, Education Coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County. 

Kilbury delivered her lesson to K-2 students at Weeks Elementary on Wednesday. The students who heard Wednesday’s lesson were ready to act on it when asked what they would drink away from school.

“Water. It has zero sugars in it so it’s really healthy for you,” said 2nd grader Railee Brown. 

After Kilbury’s lesson, members of the Rural Health Network offered students a sample of a carrot, apple and beet salad.

“It’s kind of good. I’ve never actually had a salad before. It mostly tastes like apples,” said 2nd grader Leela Smith.
A woman standing as a class full of young students sits on a rug 

The Rural Health Network works with 26 school districts in New York State to promote healthy eating.

“It’s taken two years but kids actually ask for the kale/apple salad in the cafeteria and that’s amazing,” said Jessica Barbini, Farm to School Coordinator for the Rural Health Network. 

Cornell Cooperative Extension will return to the school on February 5th to deliver healthy snack lessons to grades 3-5.

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