Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle, Jonathan Babineaux, donned an apron and chef’s hat at Bunche Middle School to promote healthy lunch programs. Babineaux served lunch to the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students as he encouraged them to make healthy selections during lunchtime. He stressed the importance of students incorporating more nutritional items, such as fruits and vegetables, into their diet.
“It is important for youth to intake the right foods and nutrients,” Babineaux explained. “We want to try to help our kids make the right decisions and choices as far as the foods they eat.”
Federal mandates have changed how school cafeterias prepare meals this year. School districts throughout the country must adhere to tougher nutritional requirements. These regulations require school districts to prepare meals that contain more fruits and vegetables, and less sodium.
Babineaux took time to discuss the benefits of eating healthy, while demonstrating that many tasty and healthy food choices exist. He also reviewed the nutritious meals that NFL players must eat in order to stay fit and agile on the field, while also explaining what he eats on a regular basis to stay big and strong.
“I encourage them to stay away from fast food and things that aren’t good for them,“ he explained. “Eating well has helped me daily in what I do on the field. I want them to know that eating the right things can make you a healthy person and help you live longer.”
Cheyenne Ransom, an 8th grader at Bunche, says she is now determined to add more fruits and vegetables to her daily diet. She said having a professional athlete come in and speak at Bunche really resonated with the students at the school.
“While we were in their getting our lunch he talked about how foods like peas and carrots and apples and oranges are better options for us,” she explained. “I learned that it is good to have variety in what we eat.”
Proper nutrition in the school age years can reinforce lifelong eating habits that contribute to a student’s overall well being. Atlanta Public Schools is committed to serving healthy meals for student success.
“With the rise of obesity among our youth today, it is definitely a problem we need to address,” Babineaux added. “We want them to know that eating the right things can determine how they live their life.”