Junk Food Jolene Changed Her Ways

  • Hero Stories
  • May 08, 2017
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In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re taking this opportunity to catch up with Alexa Palmer, an early childhood educator for over 15 years. Though most people would consider teaching demanding enough, Alexa has also found the time to author a children’s book about healthy eating.

Jolene Adventures of a Junk Food Queen is the story of Jolene, a girl who loves eating candy, chips, and fried food all the time until she goes on an adventure and learns about the harm her diet is doing to her health and her teeth.

Reading this book with your kids is a fun way to start a discussion about healthy eating.  Such conversations are essential nowadays, in a time when so many kids want to only eat junk food.

Alexa says one tactic that worked for her with her own daughters was repetition.

“Establishing healthy eating habits with children is an ongoing process, and we just have to be encouraging to children to offer healthy foods as much as possible. Offer a variety, not just for one day, but every day to integrate it into their diets.” She adds that, “it becomes a chain reaction—the more that they’re offered, the more they eat it.”

Alexa chose to connect Jolene’s fantasy world with the message of healthy eating as “children learn through fun and fantasy.” She also recommends that parents be creative in the kitchen and involve their kids when they’re making dinner.

While Alexa recognizes it’s not always easy to prepare a healthy, scratch-cooked meal every day, and not all parents have time, she also notes that parents who can develop this habit with their children are giving their kids a lifelong gift.

“Even if it’s just on the weekends, bring your kids into it. When they participate in it, it’s exciting.”

Throughout her 15 years in the classroom, Alexa has noticed the connection between food and her students’ focus in the classroom. Some of her students go through picky phases, others love their food, and others don’t want to eat at all. It’s all about moving them in the right direction and setting them off on the right path to make healthy eating choices a priority for a long and happy life. 

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