Ms. Reed Brings School Lunch to Life in the Classroom

May 31, 2010  • 

When elementary school teacher Beth Reed at PS 146 in East Harlem heard that her school cafeteria would be serving Rachael’s NYC Sizzling Soft Taco with Southwest Roasted Chicken and Corn Relish and Vegetarian “Veg-Head” Beans as part of Yum-o!’s collaboration with the New York City Department of Education’s Office of SchoolFood, she was inspired to bring the experience into the classroom.

Ms. Reed brought in all the fresh ingredients for the students to see, touch and smell. “It was amazing to see their reactions to interacting with ‘real’ food, which is unfortunately something that is not always available to them,” said Ms. Reed. “The students passed around the peppers, smelled the cilantro and made personal connections with the food their parents make at home. They were able to understand that food comes in one form and, with the help of a recipe, can be turned into a great dish!”

In preparation for eating the new Yum-o! meal, Ms. Reed created a lesson about the recipe for all the second and third graders. After showing the students the ingredients, they participated in an activity where the students received cards with the ingredients and recipe instructions on them. The students put the instructions in order to recreate the recipe and drew pictures of what the ingredients would look like before and after preparation. “Garlic being passed around the room with cilantro was a highlight,” said Ms. Reed. “It was super hands-on and exciting for the students!” Plus, by leading a lesson around the meal that would be served in the lunch room the next day, Ms. Reed’s students were even more excited about trying the new Yum-o! lunch.

As the Health and Wellness Coordinator for her school this year, Ms. Reed is continuing to develop wellness initiatives, snack policies and a health curriculum for PS 146. Whether it’s discovering the ingredients in Rachael’s next Yum-o! SchoolFood meal or celebrating cooking and different cuisines by preparing recipes like fresh salsa for Cinco de Mayo, Ms. Reed is helping her students develop a healthy lifestyle inside and outside the classroom. How cool is that?!