Students at Chief Sunrise Education Centre dropped the pop for a week and learned some skills to make healthier choices in the process.
“I think it went really well,” said Misty Pynten, the school’s counsellor and co-organizer of the campaign.
“They maybe didn’t like all the alternatives, but the most important thing was that they weren’t scared to try them.”
As part of the GNWT-funded Drop the Pop campaign, the school provided healthy alternatives to the children for the week of March 24.
They made a different smoothie each of the five days, and on Friday had a nutrition fair featuring snacks like homemade granola and fruit-flavoured water.
The students even got to take home some of the school tea, harvested in the fall, then blended and packaged for the occasion.
“I liked the granola best because it just tastes so good,” said Walker Wilgosh, adding that he had learned that pop has too much sugar and isn’t a very healthy option.
“I liked the smoothies a lot, and the first one the most.”
“It had grapes and kiwis,” said Keyona Tourangeau, only slightly appalled at the revelation that she had also ingested spinach and chia seeds in her new favourite beverage.
She said that of the three flavoured waters on offer, the strawberry and mint leaf was her favourite and that she has asked her mother to make it at home.
“The idea is that they can go home and make them there, too,” said Pynten.
“We’re giving them all the recipes and we hope that they will take them home and teach their parents and get them dropping the pop, too.”
As a bit of a reward, the students who participated received T-shirts with the words “live well” in South Slavey emblazoned on the back.
Pynten said that by the end of the week, the students were looking forward to the smoothies and were asking for the program to keep going.
While there are some ingredients left over for teachers to use for snacks if they so choose, the program wrapped up in March.
“It was really well received,” said Pynten.
“More often than not, the kids will choose the healthy option.”