Little Sprouties are taking over the Clovis Sprouts Farmers Market on Wednesday mornings during the children’s’ nutrition workshop, where they are taught the importance of eating a well balanced diet by tasting and creating healthy snacks.
The program, which is exclusive to the Clovis Sprouts, has already begun to change the way children think about new, and for them strange, vegetables and fruits.
“We expose them to things they might not have tried otherwise,’’ said Wesley McRoberts, who leads the workshops. “One mom told me last week, ‘If it wasn’t for you my child would have never tried that.”
In one of the recent classes, McRoberts taught the children how to make parfaits and began by showing them each ingredient and explaining why it’s good for their health. She encouraged the kids to explore and sample blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwis, strawberries and granola with either vanilla or strawberry Greek yogurt.
“I would like to see you try a little bit of everything, especially if you haven’t tried it before, because the worst thing you could do is say, ‘I don’t like it.’ Because you don’t know if you like it if you haven’t tried it,” McRoberts said as she began the class.
The children eagerly reached for the yogurt and after opening the lid, began to pile on a variety of fruits and granola.
To Rachel Holden, who brought her three daughters, the program has made introducing fruits and vegetables easier. Now they are the ones who ask for them, she said.
“I think this is really good because it puts out there the information on how to exercise and eat healthy,” Holden said. “Starting them young I think really makes a difference and impacts their adulthood. Now we go through the store and they look for snap peas or strawberries and they love broccoli and cauliflower. Without introducing this to them young, they wouldn’t have chosen those options.”
Through the program, McRoberts hopes to set each child on a road to healthy eating that will become second nature to them, in hopes that as adults they do not struggle with their diet.
“In America we have a really big problem with obesity and part of that is because fast food and junk food is so much cheaper than healthy food and it’s sad, but what I am proud about Sprouts is that we do offer those healthy alternatives at a reasonable price,” she said.
Since attending the workshops, Nathan’s mother said she has had an easier time getting him to eat natural sugar like fruits rather than high-sugar sweets. The weekly classes have helped reinforce what she teaches him at home.
Now children like Nathan look forward to Wednesday, so they can learn something new and eat the tasty treats they create.