TODAY   |  April 27, 2014

Baltimore school uses smoothie bar to introduce kids to healthy produce

As part of TODAY’s “Shine a Light” series, Lester Holt profiles one Baltimore school using a clever strategy to improve students’ diets: a smoothie bar serving tasty fruit and vegetable concoctions.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> shine a light on baltimore to help improve health and well being in that city. in areas where healthy foods aren't easily accessible, it can be a real chal toning get the proper foods and to help kids eat right.

>> in baltimore we met a dedicated elementary school principal who came to us with an idea to get her students to pack more fruits and vegetables into their diets. we were there to help turn her dream into a reality.

>> reporter: in the middle of a food desert , a baltimore neighborhood utterly lacking any stores that sell fresh produce, edgewood elementary school is an oasis. sfwroo we have a fresh fruits and vegetables program that the school system takes part in, and that has provided them with some experiences with it.

>> reporter: principal solar was searching for a way to get the kids to really invest themselves in healthy eating . her answer? smoothies.

>> today we open up our super duper smooth energy center . you ready to see it?

>> yes.

>> reporter: in a dedicated classroom, these third through fifth graders are learning about smoothies. not the sugary kind, but drinks packed with real fruits and vegetables prepared by the kids themselves. the nutri bullet company donated the machines and sent a new traditionist to help launch the program.

>> they are going to get fiber, potassium, vitamin c , and anti-oxidants.

>> reporter: the recipes? they include everything from spinach, carrots, and strawberries to pine am, cucumber, and chia seeds with almond or coconut water . whirl for 20 seconds, turn its into a glass full of super foods that are meant to make eating your veggies more efficient and tastier.

>> what do you think?

>> that's good.

>> mine is different.

>> it's different.

>> yeah. i'm not used to tasting, like, carrots. i don't eat carrots that much.

>> reporter: which is the whered. to ebbing pose kids to healthy foods they may not be eating.

>> i'm going to try mango.

>> reporter: with some help i took my own trip to the smoothie bar.

>> it tastes quite good. i taste a lot of banana in here.

>> that from an adult palate. consensus of the kids, however, was this may take some getting used to.

>> this ain't working.

>> reporter: the hope is that the kids will ultimately experiment and find a taste and healthy combination that suits them.

>> they may eat vegetables.

>> that's the hope. that's the plan.

>> do you like vegetables at home?

>> only if my mom tricks me.

>> your mom tricks you. if mom puts spinach on your