Alamosa Park Students are Lean and Green

May 15th, 2018

Alamosa Park students are lean and green

Once upon a time, there was a magical kingdom called Alamosa Park Elementary. Every day, the students learned their lessons, ate their lunch, and played during recess. One day, a royal family came to the school! Queen Bean, along with Princess Pea Pod and Princess Peanut Butter, visited the second grade classrooms. The royal family had a very important message for the students about food.

Queen Bean, also known as Barbara Gates, hails from the land of Lean and Green Kids, which she founded. Queen Bean and her princesses (Shura and Camille) have a quest: to educate students about the life-changing, planet-saving, and enchanting powers of eating plants. You see, Queen Bean loves animals. She loves nature. And she also loves to sing.

Queen Bean at Alamosa Park Elementary

Queen Bean loves to sing!

“Something else I love is food,” sings Queen Bean. “Food, glorious food, from Earth’s magical garden!” In the kingdom of Alamosa Park Elementary, food certainly does have magical properties. Food provides us with the nutrients we need to grow up strong, and plant foods have 10 times more nutrients than foods like burgers and pizza. Protein and carbohydrates are important nutrients that come from food, but there’s one nutrient that only plants have: fiber.

“Fiber helps move food through our bodies and out of our bodies, if you know what I mean,” hints Queen Bean. Several students giggle at the marvelous innuendo.

Queen Bean visits Alamosa Park Elementary

Queen Bean asks students about special nutrients they get from food.

Healthy foods have another magical property: they improve your mood! In addition to helping you jump higher and run faster, healthy foods give you a sharp mind and even help you to feel happier. The whole class chants together, “Strong body, sharp mind, and happy spirit.”

Then, Princess Peanut Butter asked the classes, “Does protein come from animals or plants?” While some students said animals, others cleverly said both. And they’re right! All foods have protein, even plants.

Even spiders have protein

Princess Peanut Butter explains that all animals have protein – even spiders!

One plant is near and dear to Queen Bean’s heart. “Beans, glorious beans!” she sings. Beans really are magical because they belong to two different food groups: the vegetable group and the protein group. “Beans are full of lean and green protein and high in fiber,” Queen Bean says.

But what does “lean and green” really mean? Princess Pea Pod has a enthralling language lesson to help us understand.

Students suggest green activities

Princess Pea Pod listens to student ideas for green activities.

“I can lean forward at my desk to learn better, but lean also describes food that helps you feel fit and energized,” says Princess Pea Pod. “You all know green is a color, but green also describes actions we can take to help the planet. What green activities can you think of?” Students call out recycling, picking up trash, and riding their bikes.

Eating beans instead of meat for protein is another green activity. “Beans are the most Earth-friendly protein you can choose!” says Queen Bean. “By choosing beans, you can save enough land to grow 100 trees! This helps all of the animals who depend on those trees, including the human animal, just like you.”

Everyone sings the glorious food song

Mrs. Droste’s second grade class loved singing along to the glorious food song!

“You can get all of the protein you need from plants if you choose to,” said Queen Bean. “Some people around the world choose to not eat animals at all. And that’s a very important decision for you to make every day.”

At the end of the lesson, Queen Bean led the second graders in song (to the tune of the song in Oliver!).

Food, glorious food
From Earth’s magical garden
Helps improve our mood,
games, grades, n’our organs
soups, salads and sandwiches
What’s best is the question?
Queen Bean has the answer, kids
Beans are perfection!

Ah… glorious beans
thee lean’n green protein
gulped, swallowed or chewed
filling, scrumptious and creamy
Just picture a bu-rri-to
piled high guac’mole, Holy
beans, marvelous beans, magical beans, Glorious beans!

Beans glorious beans,
what I wouldn’t give for
You loving ’em too
that’s what Queen Bean lives for
Just thinking of creamy beans
my senses are reeling
Can’t wait until lunchtime kids,
t’share the feeling!

WaveCrest Cafe black bean and corn salad

The black bean and corn salad is made fresh for the salad bar every week.

Then, it was time for lunch! But Queen Bean, Princess Pea Pod, and Princess Peanut Butter had one more surprise in store. Everyone would get a taste of the black bean and corn salad! Made fresh in WaveCrest Cafe and served in the salad bar every Thursday, the black bean and corn salad is a delicious bean side dish.

Amy Haessly dishes black bean salad to students

Lady Legume, or Amy Haessly, gives black bean and corn salad samples to students at lunch.

Lady Legume, also known as Amy Haessly, Nutrition Education and Training Supervisor for VUSD, handed cups of black bean and corn salad to a line of eager students. The bean salad was so tasty, some even came back for more until it was all gone!

Nutrition trivia with Princess Pea Pod

Princess Pea Pod plays trivia and a food group matching game with students at lunch.

Meanwhile, Queen Bean, Princess Pea Pod, and Princess Peanut Butter played games with the students. Students could win stickers for trivia (“what’s your favorite fruit?”), matching the food to the food group, or guessing the type of bean from a bowl.

Nutrition games at lunchtime

Students play nutrition-based games at lunch.

Now that Alamosa Park Elementary second graders know they have an important choice to make every day about their food, more may choose healthy foods. At least they know there’s a delicious, nutritious dish made of magical beans in the salad bar every week. And this will help them live happily ever after.

By Lindsay Mineo