Today, farmers markets across Michigan are coming up with innovative ways to help teach kids how to make healthy eating choices. The Lathrup Village Farmers Market, in partnership with Blue Care Network, is hoping to do exactly that with the introduction of "Passport to Flavors and Fun," an initiative designed to motivate children of all ages to explore new, healthy foods, in a fun and rewarding way. From June 22 to Aug. 10, the program will encourage children to try locally grown foods that they may not have previously had access to or thought to try. At Blue Care Network's farmers market booth, children will receive a "passport" that represents the 24 different fruits and vegetables offered throughout the eight-week program. As they sample the selected produce each week, children will receive a stamp in their passport showing that they successfully tried the fruit and/or vegetable. If a child samples all of the provided foods for that week, they will also receive a raffle ticket. On August 10, four winners will be drawn to each receive a $200 gift certificate to D&D Bicycles and Hockey. Blue Cross and Blue Care Network employees and their family members are not eligible to win. Every week, children will have the opportunity to try each offered fruit and vegetable in its raw and cooked form. They'll also be able to learn how fruits and vegetables are grown, the importance of nutritional values and what kind of meals they can create with each healthy item. Here is a breakdown of the foods your child can enjoy throughout the program:
  • June 22: Strawberries, nine-grain bread and basil.
  • June 29: Cannoli, spinach and radish.
  • July 6: Cheese, raspberries and yellow or green string beans.
  • July 13: Lavender dark chocolate, kohlrabi and kale.
  • July 20: Blueberries, cucumbers and poppy seed salad.
  • July 27: Red and green peppers, blueberry rhubarb jam with ciabatta bread and Jamaican dip with yogurt.
  • August 3: Cherry tomatoes, blackberries and natural kettle popcorn.
  • August 10: Sweet corn, dried fruit and cantaloupe
Schools in Lathrup Village are also starting to teach children about healthy eating habits. Children in classrooms throughout Lathrup Village, Southfield, Berkley, Oak Park, Huntington Woods and Beverly Hills will have the opportunity to learn about the Passport to Flavors and Fun program and the health benefits of participating. Research has shown that children who make healthy food choices growing up will make similarly healthy choices as an adult. By introducing your child to new flavors and foods in a non-threatening environment, they will have a broader sense of healthy do’s and don’ts later in life. It is important to remember that children are more likely to try a new food item if they see a trusted adult or peer try it too. Think about sampling the foods with your child as you explore the farmers market. To increase access to fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables, the Lathrup Village Farmers Market accepts all forms of food assistance including the Michigan Bridge Card and Fair Food Network Double Up Food Bucks. In addition, a partnership between Lathrup's market and SMART transportation also provides residents with easy travel options. Kicking off its sixth season, the Lathrup Village Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in front of the Municipal Complex on Southfield Road, north of I-696.
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association