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Pillsbury: Growing a Taste for Good Health for Over Twenty Years

Thirty-three. That's the number of elementary schools in the Minneapolis school district. And twenty-five? That's the number of years Pillsbury Elementary School has partnered with University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition Programs.

Pillsbury School: Each student ready to lead the future.

Pillsbury is a safe, challenging, nurturing learning community striving to meet the individual needs of students and families. The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), as delivered by Community Nutrition Educator Roger Dahmen, helps achieve their mission to provide their students opportunities to develop skills and acquire knowledge about healthy eating and physical activity.

"The students are willing and very enthusiastic to learn about what is healthy for them to eat and drink,” Roger said. “And more importantly, they want to know why what they are consuming is healthy for them."

Roger does not work alone. “Standing behind the students is a staff who encourages them to learn,” he said, “and reinforces the concepts EFNEP has taught throughout the year, not just during the six classroom sessions.” Third grade teachers say they’ve seen students in the lunchroom reading food labels to see how many grams of fat and sugar they are eating. Also, teachers are noticing the increase in the numbers of students choosing and drinking skim milk as their beverage of choice.

Pillsbury also undertakes innovative projects to encourage healthy bodies. One example of a project underway to students' nutrition needs is the Market Cart Salad Bar. This is the new fresh fruit and salad bar that is coming to the Pillsbury lunchroom early this year. Two programs that encourage physical activity are Pillsbury Pedal Power and Pillsbury Skis — bicycling and cross country skiing programs for students.

Pillsbury started a Loppet Foundation Ski Program in 2007.

Pillsbury is just one of many schools Health and Nutrition educators partner with in Minneapolis — and across the state! Read more about these partnerships here: Family Matters — Schools.
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