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Getting a big serving of food-filled fun

PRINCETON – The national award-winning theater show, FoodPlay, made its way to Lincoln Elementary School earlier this week.

The live theater performance brought a cast of colorful performers, amazing feats of juggling, motivating messages, music, magic and audience participation to turn students on to healthy eating and exercise habits.

The Illinois Soybean Association partnered with FoodPlay productions to bring the performance to 40 Illinois schools during this month, which is National Soyfoods Month.

Second-grade teacher Marcia Blessman wrote a grant to bring the production to Lincoln.

All second- and third-grade students were invited to the one-hour presentation. The two cast members had students laughing, stretching and dancing.

After the show, Blessman said she was thrilled with the performance.

“I thought it kept (the students’) attention,” she said. “Anytime they can do something in a fun way and have the kids relate and be involved, it’s great.”

As the FoodPlay performance unfolded, students learned how to decipher food labels, see through TV advertising and make sense of today’s confusing food world.

Blessman said teaching students to look and read the labels before eating foods was an interesting part of the show.

“Sometimes we think, ‘Oh, it has fruit in it,’ but what you don’t know is it’s processed and bad for you,” she said. “It was great for them to see the differences in good snacks vs. the bad snacks.”

Students also learned the importance of fueling up with breakfast and being active every day. They learned how to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables and cut down on sweets and unhealthy fats.

According to a press release issued by FoodPlay productions, kids on average are drinking more than 600 cans of soda and consuming more than 150 pounds of sugar a year, missing out on recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains needed for optimal health. They sourced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for stating over one-third of the nation’s youth will develop diabetes if current eating and exercise habits don’t improve.

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