Indiana Schools & Fuel Up to Play 60 Encourage Nutrition

By Mary Nicholson

The Fuel Up to Play 60 program is up and running in more than 60,000 schools across the country.  In its third year, the program continues to grow and evolve.  Just in case you’re wondering what Fuel Up to Play 60 is, it’s a school wellness program that is a collaboration between the National Dairy Council and the National Football League.  It is designed to empower students to make changes in the nutrition environment and opportunities for physical activity in their school.

Indiana has quite a few schools involved in Fuel Up to Play 60.  Just the other night I attended a Fuel Up to Play 60 Kick-off event at Nicholson Elementary school in Crawfordsville.  It was quite an evening!  The hallways had all sorts of Fuel Up to Play 60 and Indianapolis Colts pictures, posters, and drawings.  Families checked in and then spent time in different areas of the school.  The gym had a number of stations where participants could hoola-hoop, jump rope,  and more with the assistance of several Crawfordsville High School athletes.  Outside, the Colts In Motion travelling museum was set up, and Wabash College football players were on hand to pass footballs to young receivers.  In the cafeteria, a mix-it-yourself trail mix bar was set up– complete with recipes and how-to’s.  Blue milk was available to try, and a dairy bingo game was played.

One classroom became the “Colts Room” where the Lombardi trophy was on display, along with cutouts of several Colts players. The library was a busy place where students could sign up on line at FuelUptoPlay60.com.  An extra bonus was that every family who attended the event got a free book. Buttercup, the mascot of the Dairy & Nutrition Council, was also on hand, giving high-5’s and having her picture taken.  This was a great example of how to create excitement among the students and getting parents involved.

There are other creative ideas taking shape in other Indiana schools, too.  Greenbriar Elementary is creating healthy snacks and recipes, along with warm up exercises in the mornings. Garden City Elementary is creating infomercials about the 5 food groups and conducting taste tests during lunch and emphasizing the importance of breakfast.  In New Harmony, students will vote on new foods which may be added to the menu and go to a nearby state park for a school-wide fitness day.  In Hymera, jump rope and walking clubs are beginning, and community nights will help educate attendees on healthy food choices, healthy snacks, and physical activity. Caston Elementary will have a new salad bar for fruits, vegetables, and dairy products; activities will take place on the playground.  Decatur Middle School is emphasizing breakfast and giving “fuel tickets” for being active outside of school. Rosa Parks-Edison Elementary has an active WIN (Wellness In Numbers) group who will be implementing a variety of healthy food sampling and physical activities.

I’m sure there are more great things going on in Indiana’s schools – this is just a sampling!

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