Multiple schools in mid-Missouri recognized for healthy practices

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ASHLAND - Getting your child to eat their fruits and vegetable may not always be the easiest task, but some schools in mid-Missouri are trying to promote healthier life styles.

Multiple schools across mid-Missouri were recognized by the HealthierUS School Challenge, which aims to ensure children have access to healthy meals in schools.

Director of Nutrition Services at Southern Boone County School District Cassie Denning said teaching kids how to eat healthy is essential to their education.

"We have students who maybe don't see as many fresh fruits and vegetables at home. Either their parents weren't raised to eat that stuff or it's not something they have time for," Denning said. "We have some students that maybe this is the only place that they're going to see food like that so I think it's really important that we show them that brocolli's not nasty, that it can actually be really good."

Southern Boone Elementary School and Southern Boone Primary School were recognized by the challenge, receiving a bronze medal award.

Superintendent of Southern Boone County School District Chris Felmlee also said the children have had positive attitudes about eating healthy.

"Any thing we can do to promote healthier living and a more active lifestyle is going to help our kids out in the long run," Felmlee said. 

The Southern Boone County School District also promotes healthy living through the Southern Boone Learning Garden, where students have a chance to plant their own seeds and watch them grow. Felmlee said the garden really helps students understand the process of where healthy foods come from. 

"We are able to offer kids experiences where they actually see their food grow and then they have an opportunity to harvest that food and they do certain activities. Our kids have really benefited from these activities and these opportunities," Felmlee said.

Denning said the change to make Southern Boone schools healthier was not just to comply with this challenge.

"The students here are very willing to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. We didn't necessarily make those changes for the Healthier U.S. School Challenge. There were things we were already doing," Denning said.

Schools in Hallsville, Sedalia and Moberly were also awarded by the campaign for implementing healthier programs in schools.

Check out the United States Department of Agriculture to see if your school made the list.