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Costa Mesa school gets gold medal for fun

Students at Adams Elementary try out new fruits and vegetables after giving their all to some 'Olympic' events.

May 25, 2012|By Britney Barnes
  • HEALTHY HOPPERS: Kindergartner Jasmine Palacios takes off hopping as she participates in the sweet potato sack race during the Nutrition Olympics at Adams Elementary. The event, hosted by Network for a Healthy California, used other games like coconut bowling and melon lifting, to introduce kids to the benefits of eating new fruits and vegetables.
HEALTHY HOPPERS: Kindergartner Jasmine Palacios takes… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

While London prepares to host the summer Olympics, Adams Elementary School students competed in their own version — only no one walked away with a medal Friday.

Instead, everyone walked away with ideas for fun physical activities and a taste of new fruits and vegetables.

"We want them to feel like a winner because they're doing it," said Newport-Mesa Unified nutritionist Pam Williams with the Network for a Healthy California. "They walk away a winner."

The Costa Mesa school was one of about a half dozen this year to host the Nutrition Olympics put on by the Network for a Healthy California. The pre-K through sixth-grade students competed in coconut bowling, veggie relay, melon weightlifting, orange shot put and potato sack races before getting a taste of coconut, raw sweet potato sticks, raw broccoli, watermelon and orange juice.

"It's a fun event," said Principal Gabe Del Real. "It's just such a great way for the kids to let off steam now that testing is done."

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Williams brought the idea to the school district several years ago from her previous schools to give kids exercise while learning about the importance of fruits and veggies.

Chris Fraser, a certified nutritionist and volunteer, came back for a second year to help run the event.

"I really enjoy encouraging these kids to eat more fruits and veggies by playing fun games and activities," he said.

For one group of first-graders, it was their first chance to try raw sweet potato.

Seth Amador, 7, gave a thumbs up while another student said it a "little bit" good. Others thought it looked like a carrot, but Litzy Valadez, 6, thought its taste was familiar.

"It's like candy," Litzy said.

Second-grader Jessica Min tried a new fruit — orange juice — and found it sweet. She said she enjoyed the entire event.

"It was really good," Jessica said. "I liked the eating of the fruits and veggies."

britney.barnes@latimes.com

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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