Raising Nutrition Awareness with a Smoothie Mustache
Want to help raise nutrition awareness? Love smoothies? Help Ironwill Kids spread the word by sharing a smoothie mustache!
Ironwill Kids’ new video, “Show IWK Your Smoothie Stash,” shows runners, ranging from grade-school students, to college athletes, to Olympic runners, making healthy smoothies and sharing their “smoothie stashes” on social media. The athletes invite others to participate and spread the word by using #SmoothieStash on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Ironwill program began in the Bronx, New York, and in Newark, New Jersey, as an adult program that focused on nutrition and health education in underserved communities. After targeting adults, the program expanded to Ironwill Kids, which uses unique and dynamic methods to engage with kids—like the smoothie mustache campaign.
“Running a nutrition and health program with adults made us realize there is a huge need for education regarding health and nutrition. This inspired us to create a nutrition education program for middle school aged kids,” explained PreventObesity.net Leader Shelby Greany, marketing manager for Ironwill Kids. “Our mission is to create a generation of empowered kids who use their voice in the fight against childhood obesity, igniting a chain reaction of healthy living,”
Ironwill’s PowerUp! Program, created in collaboration with Columbia University, is currently implemented in schools and organizations throughout 10 states, serving more than 5,000 middle school aged students. The program is 10 lessons long and includes interactive labs: two food labs and one garden lab. The program also has a strong drama component, where lessons are scripted like a kids television show. The students act out the parts of three main characters throughout the program.
“We like to call it ‘Hollywood meets health education’,” Shelby said.
The PowerUp! Program also includes at-home activities within the lessons, and parent letters that go home with each lesson to inform parents or guardians on what their child is learning. “We really try to engage and involve the families,” shared Shelby. “Parents are ultimately the ones who make the decisions about what foods are purchased and given to their kids.”
In the second lesson of the PowerUp! Program, students are shown how to make a healthy smoothie in the classroom, and then they go home to create smoothie recipes with their families. Taking the engagement to the next level, the Ironwill Kids team incorporated social media and started the “Show Me Your #SmoothieStash” campaign.
So far, the campaign has featured: Olympic runners Molly Huddle, Kara Goucher, Alysia Montaño, Emma Coburn and Kim Smitch, among others; high school teams; college teams from Columbia University, New York University and Iona College; and parents and families—all of whom have participated and helped spread awareness.
The Ironwill Kids program has not only had a significant impact on students, but also on their families and communities.
“We are seeing drastic changes in the students’ drink of choice,” Shelby explained. “After PowerUp!, where they learn these drinks are full of added sugars and chemicals, students are drinking less soda, sports drinks and juices and are instead opting for healthier options such as water and milk (normal, not chocolate!).”
And the impacts don’t stop at influencing healthy choices, the kids are learning skills and ideas that will help them live a healthier life, too.
“There have been impressive results in the growth of knowledge and positive behavior changes regarding topics such as how often they eat fruits and vegetables, creative ways to eat fruits and vegetables, and the importance of reading food labels and eating breakfast,” Shelby said.
To see the Smoothie Mustache campaign video, click here. To get involved, share a photo of your smoothie mustache on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram by using the hashtag #SmoothieStash.