Sister Lakes students learn nutrition through song and dance

Registered Dietitian Laura Brown, who played the role of Jill, invites students to dance with her near the beginning of the show. Brown encouraged students to drink low fat milk or eat more fruits and vegetables through several music acts during the show. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Registered Dietitian Laura Brown, who played the role of Jill, invites students to dance with her near the beginning of the show. Brown encouraged students to drink low fat milk or eat more fruits and vegetables through several music acts during the show. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

For a majority of elementary school students, the words “healthy eating” and “fun and excitement” go together more like oil and water than peanut butter and jelly.

However, the children gathered in the confines of the Sister Lakes Elementary School Wednesday morning were dancing and singing along as they learned more about how to take care of their bodies and improve their diet.

The school was visited that morning by the world’s first (and only) rock and roll nutrition show, Jump with Jill. Led by registered dietician Laura Brown, playing the titular Jill, the program combined song and dance with nutritional education, encouraging children to eat more fruits and vegetables through a raucous and entertaining show.

Funded through the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, members of the Jump with Jill Live Tour are currently visiting schools throughout the state, using their combination of music and education to help improve the diets of elementary students, Brown said.

“We’re inspiring kids to eat healthy using the same methods that many companies use to get to them to eat junk food,” she said.

Sister Lakes is one of 35 schools the tour will be stopping at over the next several weeks. The school’s name was put forward for consideration by the Van Buren ISD, which sends a nutritional consultant to the school on a regular basis, said Principal Mike Campbell.

Brown and her DJ, Nick Greene, rapped about the benefits of drinking low-fat milk, and sang songs about “super powered” vegetables and “nature’s candy” fruit.

For Brown, performing in front of children allows her to directly see the impact that her work as a RN has, she said. She’s even received phone calls from schools she has appeared at in the past, saying that parents are wondering why their children are suddenly asking to eat more vegetables or drink more milk during dinnertime, she said.

“The show is not just inspiring students in the moment, but affecting them in the long run as well,” Brown said.

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