Poe Center and Johnston County Public Schools
Host “Eat A Rainbow Week”

Jennifer Bell, M.Ed. – Marketing Director, Poe Center for Health Education

“How pretty!” a young student exclaimed, as she walked into the lunch line at South Smithfield Elementary School on Monday, March 5.  She then proceeded to fill her tray with a bright red apple, shiny grape tomatoes, and a gorgeous green broccoli salad. Color was on the menu for lunch.

It was “Eat A Rainbow Week” at  Johnston County Public Schools, and students were greeted with a festive display of colorful fruits and vegetables, along with decorations and a life-sized waving happy-faced apple.  The goal was to encourage students to try a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in nutrients for a well-balanced diet.


Thanks to a partnership between the Poe Center for Health Education and Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS) Child Nutrition Services, five area schools participated in the program, including South Smithfield Elementary School, Cooper Elementary School, Micro Elementary School, Four Oaks Middle School, and Glendale-Kenly Elementary School.  JCPS Child Nutrition Services planned a menu to highlight a different colored fruit of vegetable for each day of the week.  The Poe Center provided educational materials and information for students and teachers, as well as decorated the schools with fun posters.   Information and handouts were sent home to continue the educational process with students’ families.

“Eat A Rainbow Week,” March 5 – 9, 2018

Monday “Red” – strawberries, grape tomatoes

Tuesday “Orange” – carrots, oranges

Wednesday “Yellow” – bananas

Thursday “Green” – spinach

Friday “Blue” – blueberries

“Teaching students at a young age the value and benefit of eating the “colors of the rainbow” will hopefully foster a desire and a passion to live a healthy lifestyle.  Children in today’s society are often influenced by many things that may lead to non-healthy or non -productive lifestyles.  Educating the whole child is more than just academics, it is reaching students who are and will be productive members of society.  Eat a Rainbow Week teaches students that being healthy can not only be fun, but delicious as well!” – Laura Makey, Principal, South Smithfield Elementary School

Students celebrate Eat A Rainbow Week with their principal at South Smithfield Elementary.
“The cafeteria is a classroom, too. We are constantly looking for ways to get our students involved and educated so when they are not in school they know what they are eating, what it does for their body, and how to make sound food choices.  We are thrilled to be participating in this event and spreading the Rainbow county wide!” Mary-Catherine Talton, Johnston County Public Schools Nutrition Services

“As a health educator at the Poe Center, I teach hundreds of nutrition and physical activity classes every year focused on giving students the information they need to make healthy choices about their diets. “Eat A Rainbow Week” is an opportunity to put that information into action and turn behaviors into habits. Having the schools create this healthy environment makes it more likely for students to persist in their healthy choices.” – Lauren McCallum, Senior Health Educator, Poe Center for Health Education

Nutrition Theater at the Poe Center
Students who visit the Poe Center’s Nutrition Theater get a lesson in the five food groups and how to build a well-balanced plate.

Thanks to funding from SNAP-Ed, South Smithfield Elementary is one of four North Carolina schools that participate in the Poe Center’s BeWELL with Poe program. Dedicated health educators work with each school to incorporate nutrition and physical activity education into the overall curriculum, support staff wellness, and pursue additional funding to support policy, system and environmental changes including extracurricular programs, such as bicycle clubs and building walking paths.

For more information about the Poe Center, visit www.poehealth.org

About the Poe Center

The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering North Carolina’s children, youth and their families to make choices that increase positive health behaviors. Since establishing its Raleigh facility in 1991, the Poe Center has provided health education to over one million children throughout North Carolina. By engaging in fun, highly interactive lessons, preschoolers through twelfth graders receive information that follows the NC DPI Healthful Living Essential Standards on a variety of health topics, including nutrition, dental health, general health, family life, substance use prevention, and bullying prevention. For additional information about the Poe Center, please visit www.poehealth.org

About Johnston County Public Schools
Our mission is to empower our students to enrich their world by facilitating learning through relationships, and relevant, innovative experiences.