On Your Health

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Hupfeld Academy Baking Club Teaches Students Teamwork and Nutrition

When Pam Patty listed the ingredients she brought for Baking Club, the 45 fourth-graders let the INTEGRIS registered dietitian know exactly what they thought.

Pepperoni, olives and jalapenos received cheers. Avocado was a source of suspicion. The students were greatly concerned that Patty forgot the cheese; she did not.

Patty and a team of INTEGRIS employees and volunteers teach students at Stanley F. Hupfeld Academy at Western Village the basics of nutrition and baking several times each year, and this time it was pizza day. Patty came with her ingredients and a game plan: encouraging students to try something new.

“You may not just have pepperoni on your pizza,” she told the students.

They gasped.

“You have to have at least four vegetables,” she said.

Murmurs rose from the crowd. Four? On one pizza?

“I want you to have adventure in your spirit,” she encouraged.

Her rules: everybody had to try to the pizza, and nobody was allowed to pick off toppings.

Teamwork and Trying New Things

Teachers divvied up the 45 students into groups of six or seven. The students hashed out who would do each job, but most groups settled on everyone doing everything. They passed around a spoon so everyone had the chance to spread out the sauce. Groups crowded around one pan and sprinkled toppings. Nearly everyone had a pass at grating cheese.

Brenda Rice, an INTEGRIS community health educator, prodded her group. “You need something green,” she said, winking. Lyric Manning, 10, grabbed a handful of green onions. “What are these?” Lyric asked her teammates. They shrugged, and she tossed them on. “Spinach is bomb,” another girl said, adding some on top.

Teacher Kathy Neuenschwander said she loves seeing her students using fresh vegetables. She also loves to see them be brave. “Sometimes they’re hesitant,” Neuenschwander said, “but in this environment, they’ll try new things.”

Teacher Alicia Brown said younger students look forward to fourth grade because of Baking Club. When they get to attend Patty’s classes, they have the chance to learn things like nutrition, measuring and teamwork. “It’s real world, rather than me standing up there and just talking about it,” Brown said. “They might not get the opportunity elsewhere.”

Daymeian Richardson, 10, said he likes working in a team, and Baking Club is a chance to learn while having fun. “You get to bake food while learning measurements,” Daymeian said. “It helps you because you actually get to use measurements and understand it better.”

The Foods You Like and the Foods You Need

Patty watched the students eating and reminded them of all the hard work they put into making great food. “It’s the foods you like and the foods you need,” Patty said. “Your bodies will thank you for it.”

She wants them to take chances with food, something that can be challenging for busy families. “I want them to get out of the convention of what pizza is,” Patty said. “It’s so easy to order pepperoni and that’s it. Kids get used to that. Their tongues get trained for that.”

She hopes Baking Club will train them to embrace new foods and new flavors.

"When it’s right there on the pizza, it’s going to be eaten,” Patty said.

She was right. They devoured the pizza – vegetables and all. The cafeteria full of fourth-graders was nearly silent. “I don’t like peppers,” one boy said, “but I’m going to try it anyway.”

Young student laughing with adult mentor. Daijah Higgins, a fourth grade student at Hupfeld Academy:, says "You get to experience something you never did before. Other people don't get to do this. Our mentors are helpful, and they like to help us. They spend their time to come here."