By LINDSAY CAREY
A Plantsville man helped write a book to help teach children and parents about eating healthy and staying active.
Pete Crouth has been a chef for 30 years and over that time has enjoyed teaching young and inexperienced individuals about the field trade. He took his interest in teaching to another level by deciding to write a book combating childhood obesity.
“It recognized the epidemic and the problems we are having as a society,” said Crouth. “I decided that using illustrations and stories would be more effective than just telling kids to eat better.”
Crouth partnered with Dr. Keith Kantor, Dana Yard, R.D., and Karen DeFiore Kantor, R.D. to create “Green Box League of Nutritious Justice: A World of Health Excellence for Children and Their Families.”
The book creatively makes fruits, vegetables and proteins into characters with storylines and also fun facts about what these super foods can do for one’s body.
“They love cartoons and super heroes, so I thought how about I give the fruits and vegetables some names and personalities, animate them and maybe it will entice the kids,” said Crouth. “It’s fun for the kids to learn about fruits and vegetables and how they really are super heroes.”
The book also serves up over 60 nutritionist approved healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“It’s all pretty easy, nothing too complicated,” said Crouth. “You don’t have to go specialty stores you can find everything you need in your local super market.”
The book also teaches children and parents how important essentials like water and sleep are to the body. It also offers warningss about diabetes and cholesterol, which the adults can take away from as well.
“Green Box League of Nutritious Justice” also includes exercise diagrams take users from beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
The book also encourages children to exercise to receive the Presidential Active Life Style Award, which is a certificate program through the White House.
After the parent and child complete a series of exercises, they can receive a certificate signed by two major sports players and marked with the presidential seal.
Crouth said the best way for children to learn from this book is to have support from their parents.
“The book doesn’t work unless the parents get involved,” said Crouth. “Don’t tell the kid to eat their broccoli while you’re sitting on the couch scarfing down a burger and fries. It can’t be ‘do as I say and not as I do.’”
Crouth explained that there are several ways for parents to get involved from the exercises to the recipes. Something as simple as drinking juice can be come a health lesson.
The chef explained that just by bringing the children into the kitchen and cutting up fruit in front of them or having them help squeeze some juice can have a huge impact on how they view fruits and vegetables.
“Then put it in a sippy cup and store it in the fridge for later,” said Crouth. “It’s a way better alternative than the high sugar juice boxes. We want them to play with their food. It’s how they learn.”
Crouth said the “Green Box League of Nutritious Justice” has actually gotten children excited about going grocery shopping because they can spot characters like Bianca the Broccoli and Octavia the Onion.
There are also some pages in the book left for coloring and spelling exercises, which also helps the material to sink in and allow them to identify the foods on their own.
“Green Box League of Nutritious Justice: A World of Health Excellence for Children and Their Families” won a prestigious gold medal for the best children’s book at “Mom’s Choice Awards.” The book is also available on Amazon, Hulu, and drkeithkantor. com.