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Cart Smarts: Good health really does grow on trees

We are part of The Trust Project.

I participated in the annual Arbor Day celebration last week as a vendor representing Hy-Vee. Arbor Day is a day dedicated to planting and caring for trees. Rochester Public Utilities (RPU), Maier Tree & Lawn, and Rochester Park & Recreation hold an Arbor Day celebration on the last Friday in April every year.

With the advice of the event organizer, I chose "Good Health Grows on Trees" as my theme. I filled my table with a display of healthy foods that grow on trees. As you can probably guess, those foods fell into two categories — fruits and nuts.

In order to make my booth more interactive (in other words, to compete with the bean bag toss and balloonists), I played "name that food" with the kids. After interacting with nearly 2,000 students in a two-hour time frame, I have a newfound respect for teachers. I was exhausted at the end of it, but I left with a few funny stories and three lessons learned.

The game went a little something like this:

Hold out a mango.

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"Squash!"

Hold out a starfruit.

(Silence.)

"What shape do you see?"

"Starfish!"

Hold out an Asian pear.

"Peach!"

Hold out an avocado.

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"Kiwi!"

"Cucumber!"

"No, it starts with an A."

"Asparagus?"

Hold out a grapefruit.

"Orange!"

Hold out a tangelo. Same story.

"Orange!"

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I ended with some easy ones to boost their confidence. Luckily, everyone recognized the apple, banana, lemon, pear and pineapple. But I can't say everyone recognized the nuts — several students yelled "popcorn!" when I showed them the bag of walnuts.

Their guesses made me smile over and over, for two hours straight.

The Arbor Day event taught me three important lessons:

1. We can thank trees for growing healthy foods, including fruits and nuts.

2. I wish I had half the energy of elementary school kids.

3. As a mom, I am proud that I am exposing my kids to so many healthy foods. I'd like to think Owen would have passed my name-that-food challenge.

Related Topics: FOOD
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