About kids teaching kids®
The kids teaching kids®, launched in North Texas in 2010, provides children and their parents with the knowledge and resources to change their eating habits for the better. In the last 30 years, childhood obesity has more than tripled. Studies reveal that kids are snacking more frequently and research suggests that eating fruits and vegetables may help maintain a healthy body weight. Medical City Children’s Hospital recognized the need to educate children and their parents about healthy lifestyle habits, beginning with eating more fruits and vegetables at snack time. In 2021, the program expanded to include Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio.
kids teaching kids is bringing communities together to help children eat healthier.
To bring kids teaching kids to fruition, the children’s hospitals and the Texas Restaurant Foundation have partnered with Texas ProStart® culinary programs in high schools across Texas.
Registered dietitians work with high school culinary students, teaching them basic nutrition and how to read food labels and calculate nutrition facts for recipes. The students use what they’ve learned to create fun-to-make, fun-to-eat snack recipes featuring fruits and vegetables—while staying within the nutrition guidelines set by the dietitians. Every snack has at least one serving of fruits and veggies, follows the American Dietary Guidelines and is designed for elementary students to prepare themselves.
With the help of high school graphic design and photography students, these healthy snack creations are compiled into recipe books that are designed exclusively by kids, for kids. kids teaching kids offers a new, interactive digital book annually and makes it available to elementary school students in North Texas and San Antonio.
The core of the program is the “21-Day Challenge,” an innovative, three-week nutrition education initiative backed by participating school districts, educators and parents. During the challenge, elementary school students are invited to change their current after-school snacking habits by consuming more fruits and vegetables. Using the recipe books and our Healthy Snack Finder as a foundation, kids are empowered to create fun, healthy snacks on their own or with minimal supervision.
Data collected at the end of each challenge shows that kids are changing their eating habits, trying new fruits and vegetables, and introducing the program to their extended families.
Healthy food isn’t just good for you … it tastes good, too!
Kids Fit Menu
An extension of the kids teaching kids program is our Kids Fit Menu®, available at many local and chain restaurants. These kid-friendly menus feature our high school students’ recipes, starring at least two servings of fruits and vegetables, on participating restaurant menus. The Kids Fit Menu contest offers opportunities for culinary students to gain real-world experience and scholarships while helping restaurants provide healthful dining options for their family customers.
21-Day Challenge @Work
The 21-Day Challenge @Work is a direct result of the overwhelming success of our original, kid-focused version. Our mission for the 21-Day Challenge @Work is to educate and encourage adults to adopt healthier habits, beginning with eating more fruits and vegetables at snack time. Using the same recipes created by our high school culinary students, we’ve designed a program that participating companies say has resulted in increased energy and productivity in the workplace.
Our goal is to help kids develop lifelong, healthy eating habits. We partner with the Texas Restaurant Foundation and Texas ProStart® culinary students to create kid-friendly, fun to make, fun to eat recipes featuring fruits and vegetables.
Since inception, the program has grown by leaps and bounds. As we reflect on our efforts, we ask ourselves:
- Are we accomplishing our goal?
- Are we educating high school students?
- Are we helping kids make better choices during snack time?
- Are we creating a healthier community with the Kids Fit Menu® at restaurants?
Our annual report answers these questions, highlighting our successes and summarizing our plans to continue moving forward toward healthier tomorrows.