Students learn a healthy body is a healthy mind

Photo by Heather Middleton
Lee Street Elementary students play a game during the ‘Food for Thought’ assembly.

Photo by Heather Middleton Lee Street Elementary students play a game during the ‘Food for Thought’ assembly.

By Heather Middleton


JONESBORO — Do you know what carotenoids and flavonoids are?

The fifth-grade class at Lee Street Elementary School does.

The students took part in a “Food For Thought” assembly hosted by Katharine Pike, a holistic health coach and weight loss expert.

Pike explained to students the benefits of eating well, including skipping things like processed junk food and reaching for an apple or banana instead.

“Eating good food will help you reach your life goals. Your dreams matter and your health matters,” Pike said. “ You have more opportunities when your body feels good — you have a strong body and a sharp mind.”

Students had the chance to taste-test kiwi with the skin on and red cabbage.

“I like the fruit. The little hairs tickle (on the kiwi),” said student Sherlanda Zidor who wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

Pike explained that eating food in its most natural state is the healthiest.

“Food is a miracle from nature,” she said.

Lee Street teacher Amanda Langston, who is part of the Teach for America organization, helped bring Pike to the school.

“I thought it would be good to expose them to healthy fruits and vegetables,” Langston said.

By doing so, she hopes this new knowledge could open them up to a new lifestyle choice.

“They (students) don’t eat a whole lot of healthy food. I want this to broaden their world.”

Pike said her hope is to plant a seed now in their hearts and minds about fresh foods and that it will continue to grow as they do.

“If we can teach them the difference of eating a fresh corn cob rather than corn from a bag — simply making better choices for a better body — then we’ve started the conversation,” she said.

And for those who are still wondering, a carotenoid is a naturally occurring plant compound largely responsible for bright colors in fruits and vegetables.

A flavonoid is a naturally occurring compound in plants that delivers many health benefits.

“Together these do good things for the body — like help prevent cancer, reduce asthma and reduce inflammation in the body,” Pike said.