We Are The Champions

by Sarah on April 21, 2011 · 11 comments

By now you know I talk about food with my kids a lot. The story of how I turned a science lesson about ocean currents into an informative lecture about sustainable fishing is now legendary, and my lunch and dinner are often the topic of much questioning. I’ve introduced my students to pistachios, the deliciousness of minted pineapple and watermelon, “ants on a log,” and deviled eggs. We’ve made trail mix in math class, and I’ve taught them that we can use pumpkin for more than just Jack-o-Lanterns. For a winter holiday treat, I fed them fruit rather than chocolate, and on Valentine’s Day, I gave them oranges instead of candy. [Both times it was the talk of the school, and greeted with much excitement by the kids.] I always try to focus on healthy foods and choices, and emphasize the important of eating good, wholesome meals.

The moment I knew I’d truly made an impact?

On Tuesday afternoon, I deflected requests from some of my students who wanted to stay with me after school, telling them I had to rush home to get an important package in the mail, full of treats for them. One of my girls looked up at me, eyes wide with excitement and said, “Is it hummus?!?!”

No, kids.
As awesome as your newly found love for hummus is, I had something else in store for you.
And it came in this very large box.

Thanks to the incredible graciousness and support of Nicki, Emily, and Shari at Chobani, I received a package of their new Champions line of Greek yogurt……made with (healthy) kids in mind.I may have been so excited I accidentally dumped all of the Very Berry back into the shipping cooler.(And yes, I was also so excited I didn’t wait to go inside—despite the 95 degree heat—to open the box and take photographs of the contents. But don’t worry, I moved quickly.)
I had e-mailed Chobani expressing what y’all all know by know is my passion for keeping kids healthy through good food and nutritional awareness. I also expressed my constant underlying concern for my students, who come from backgrounds that result in the sad fact that sometimes what they eat at school is all they are going to eat.
Little did I know they’d send me enough Honey-nana and Verry Berry* Champions yogurt to feed all of my students a wonderful morning snack.
*Am I just slightly concerned that they misspelled verry to make it a little catchier and eye-appealing? Yes. Even though this might help small children understand rhyming word families, it can cause all sorts of other problems. Case in point? I’ve already tried to spell very with two rs multiple times throughout this post without realizing it. Then, when I went back to check my spelling, I literally wasn’t sure if I was actually spelling very wrong or not. This is a lot to think about before 6:30 AM.
Because this is the last week before the state TAKS tests, all of the kids have been pushed to the limit* in this “crunch time,” so to help encourage them, I decided to turn these little bites of yum into a motivational treat by attaching a note that said “Work hard and be a TAKS Champion!” to each one.
*Corbin Bleu, anyone? Anyone? No? He even sings “Champions are in the house”! Still no? OK. Just me, again, I guess.The verdict? They LOVED the yogurt and said it was better than any they’ve eaten before [including Trix yogurt, which one teacher assured me was "saying something" ;) ] A few said they wanted to eat it every day! My favorite quote, “It’s a little sour, in a good way.” (Clearly the first taste of Greek yogurt.) One of the teachers is now thinking about buying it for her whole class to eat the morning of the tests after I explained why Greek yogurt was an even better breakfast than other, plain yogurts (as far as protein content keeping the kids satiated throughout the morning).^
^Yes, I try to educate the teachers, too. ;) I felt I would be doing you a grave injustice if I didn’t try it as well. [And I was curious....but not curious to eat off of one of my students' spoons. Not that there was even any left.] The kids didn’t seem to have nearly as much trouble opening them as I did…

…but I think you can see how thick and creamy it is.I was nervous about the Honey-nana at first, because it tasted a little like that artificial banana flavor, but I realized, “Oh, hey, I should probably stir it up,” and then the flavor mellowed out to just a hint of sweet and it was quite tasty. I shocked myself by simply adoring (and preferring) the Ver(r)y Berry [normally I'd be the honey + bananas girl]. It has a super authentic taste and was…well…very berry. Eventually I realized they were both amazing separately, and equally delicious together. :)
And even though one of these kiddie cups is not quite enough to fill me up (I could clearly eat the entire four-pack in one go ’round), they are perfectly snack-sized. All I can say is thank you Chobani for making my students’ days!

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Cute story: One of my students was late this morning, and he missed when I pulled them from the cafeteria before school. He showed up at my door during his lunch and said, “Ms. Pember, may I please have a Joe Gur?”
I looked up and said, “Que?” (In Spanish. It’s like a weird reflex sometimes.)
“You know, Joe Gur!”
“Who’s Joe Gur?”
“No! The food! Like you gave everyone else.”
It was then I realized he was using the Spanish pronunciation of yogurt, and I couldn’t figure out whether my heart was melting because he came all the way to my office to ask for yogurt, or because it sounded so darn cute. :)

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Speaking of kids…and school…and food….have y’all been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution with me??? Catch up, y’all!
I’ve been thinking about investing in a pea costume.I wonder what my kids would think? [Probably they'd just roll their eyes, shake their heads, and say "Oh, Ms. Pember...", then keep on with their days like nothing strange had happened.]

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) April 21, 2011 at 8:25 am

So when are you allowed to officially announce that you and Jamie Oliver are joining forces next season? Should I not be talking about it? Is it still a secret? ;)

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Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free April 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

HOW ADORABLE! That is so sweet of them to send you a bunch of yogurt for your kids :) :) Such great stories! And yes, I saw the first food revolution (per your request) I LOVED IT! Ohmygosh-i need to watch the next one. I'm following it on hulu. Thanks for the heads up on the show :)

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Tricia @ saving room for dessert April 21, 2011 at 10:35 am

Awesome! I teared up reading this! I'm telling you Sarah, you could start your own kids show about healthy foods. These kids will never forget you and your lessons. Well done Ms. Pember, well done!

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sarah April 21, 2011 at 10:44 am

You are a hero! You should be on the news or something. I bet in 20 years these same kids will be buying greek yogurt for their families and smiling as they remember the first time they tried it.

I saw the first episode and thought it was kind of a flop. I'm not a fan of his tactics to get his point across and he seems a little unorganized. But! I totally support his cause. I'll watch the second and see if I start to like him better.

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molly April 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

i'm so proud of what a wonderful teacher you are- your students are so incredibly lucky to have you as much more than a teacher. you've done so many little things to help instill healthy eating habits in this young group of children and i know you will continue to work to bring healthy eating habits to children of all ages (including me :) — i know that whatever is in store for you next will be something like this and i'm so excited to see where it takes you. love & hugs!

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jensdaily April 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm

How did I not know they have a kids line of yogurts?! I must find this to feed to my own crew :)

Jen

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(what runs) Lori April 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Oh how cute!!! The kids are loving the healthy food and are more interested in food- healthy food. I love it! I love that you're teaching the kids more about how to eat real food. And that they got to try out the yogurt! Yum.

I've still never had that yogurt yet. No idea why.

:)

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Mary April 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Cute store about your student! Joe Gur ;) ..that's precious! and good for him for wanting yogurt, too!

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Meri April 21, 2011 at 8:32 pm

That's so cute that she was excited about hummus- I loved when the kids I'd nanny for would get excited about miso soup or oat bran or things like that. The world felt right for a moment :)

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Leila @ Spinach and Skittles April 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Ahhhh I love Chobani even MORE now! That is so awesome of them! I haven't tried the Verry Berry flavor, but the honey-nana is fun. A little sweet for my taste, but when I added a real nanner to the top of it, the sweetness mellowed out :)

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