The New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative includes experts in the fields of child health, nutrition, education, physical fitness, and clinical research. As part of its commitment to education, the NJHKI will be developing and providing educational presentations, modules, and materials for child health professionals, scientists, and community members. You can find them here.
New Brunswick Fit Culinary Nutrition Program
In the summer of 2023, the New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative (NJHKI) worked with New Brunswick’s New Brunswick Fit summer wellness program granted local teens access to interactive and invaluable nutrition education. New Brunswick Fit is a free Strength & Conditioning summer camp held at New Brunswick Middle School for local youth, 13-18 years old. New Brunswick Police Captain Michael Bobadilla spearheads the initiative with funding from New Brunswick Tomorrow and New Brunswick Public Schools. NJHKI offered camp youth athletes nutrition information through hands-on lessons and activities from the Rutgers Culture of Health School Program.
In July and August 2022, NJHKI collaborated with Franklin Township Police Department and Rec Department’s FranklinFit afterschool program to offer about 30 Franklin Township middle school and high school students culinary nutrition lessons. Program details, including lesson plans, can be accessed here.
Each summer, IFNH Student Ambassadors and NJHKI Interns develop and administer weekly nutrition literacy lessons to Scarlet Kids, a summer camp at IFNH for children entering first through fifth grades. that range in topics including food composting, animal and plant proteins, whole grains, and healthy nutrient portions. IFNH Student Ambassadors lead campers through activities that encourage food curiosity and introductions to new foods they may not have previously seen or eaten. Lesson plans can be accessed here.
Grow. Prepare. Eat. is a free virtual food literacy program offered by NJHKI during the summer of 2020. For this pilot program, 50 participants- in grades 3 through 5- engaged in a six-week virtual food literacy class to learn about the source of their food, the process that food goes through from seed to plate, and how to choose, prepare, and enjoy healthy, safe, and tasty meals and snacks. The program has two main components: twelve 30-minute live/recorded lessons covering a wide variety of food literacy topics; and post-class hands-on activities that parent/guardians and children complete together. Program details, including lesson plans and hands-on activity videos can be accessed here.
In response to schools moving to a virtual platform during the COVID-19 pandemic, NJHKI developed a 6-lesson virtual culinary literacy program designed to provide fourth and fifth-grade students with experiential learning opportunities. Program details, including lesson plans and videos, can be accessed here.
NJHKI Hosts KidsFit Teacher Training Day
On February 18, 2019, The New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative and RWJBarnabas Health co-hosted a KidsFit Teacher Training day at the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH). Designed to support children’s healthy lifestyles, KidsFit is a 10-week long program that promotes healthy food choices and activities. With over 30 participants, ranging from K-12 educators to health professionals, instructors and dieticians, Kerri Likakis and Molly Fallon engaged participants in an overview of nutrition education and how to implement the curriculum into their organizations. Trainings are offered free of charge to participants and the curriculum is available for a donation on the KidsFit website.
Aeroponic Towers Become Part of CHA Curriculum
In November, 2018, the Culture of Health Academy (CHA) added two aeroponic towers. These towers will provide CHA students, and all students brought to the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health by NJHKI, the opportunity to grow, observe, prepare, and taste over 20 different vegetables, herbs, and fruits right inside the classroom. School garden programs have been shown to increase children’s vegetable intake, in addition to improving attitudes, willingness to try, knowledge, and culinary literacy skills. The towers have become part of the educational curriculum with books focused on plants, physical activity where they act out the life cycle of a seed with their bodies, counting plants, describing the colors of the plants, and tasting what is grown.