SHIRLEY -- "Eaten fresh in summer as a vegetable, it is used as a grain when dried out." This was the Final Jeopardy "question" that would determine which team would win Health and Nutrition Jeopardy at the Lura A. White Elementary School "Fun Family Fitness Night" last week.

It was a tense moment, as the boys, still several hundred points behind the girls, pondered their next move. Their secret bid was 1,000 points; the girls', 400. Both teams came up with the correct answer, giving the boys a slim 100-point win.

The game, created by parent and Beachbody fitness instructor Sue McCarron, drew an enthusiastic crowd of parents and children, all of whom had come to school on a Friday night to learn about health, nutrition, and fitness while having fun.

Parent volunteers organized the event as part of the Lura A. White Learning Garden program, funded largely by the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.

The Learning Garden program is designed to incorporate the school's new garden into every classroom in order to increase students' knowledge about and consumption of healthier, nutritious food; increase students' level of exercise; and, encourage them to become advocates for their own health, among other goals.

Healthy snacks provide fuel for fitness

As about 25 families entered the school building, each individual received a ticket for a chance to win a prize.


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After the rousing game of Jeopardy in the gym, participants entered the cafeteria for a healthy snack demonstration presented byActon-Boxborough Regional High School Food Service Manager Heidi Conley, who is also the co-chair of the Shirley Friendship Fund (SFF).

Conley, with help from Nashoba Valley Technical High School junior Dana Hopf, made a nutritious batch of nut- and peanut-free trail mix, fruit kabobs, pita with hummus, and small turkey rolls for all to try. The food was donated by SFF, a non-profit that helps Shirley residents in need of assistance.

Everyone then returned to the gym for a Shaun T's Fit Kids Clubworkout presented by McCarron, who received help from Fun America mascot Neon Leon.

After a half-hour of exercise, everyone gathered around for prize drawings and spins of the dazzling Fun America prize wheel.

Fun America General Manager Jamie Cortes drew the winning ticket for a brand new pair of custom fit roller skates, which went to fifth-grader Alexis Blackwell, but everyone received at least one prize -- an educational game, a book, a ball, a Fun America skating pass, and/or a glow necklace.

Besides being part of the Learning Garden program, Fun Family Fitness Night was also part of the Playboard of Shirley's promotion of National Screen-Free Week for LAW students. During Screen-Free Week, children are encouraged to read, play, think, create, get physically active, and spend more time with friends and family and less time playing video games and watching TV.

Testing your health and nutrition IQ

As for the answer to that Final Jeopardy question, taken from the category Food Groups, you will have to figure it out for yourself (or see below). You can further test your health and nutrition IQ with these additional sample Jeopardy questions, taken from the categories Disease, Vitamins and Minerals, Fast Food and Snacks, and Diet and Exercise.

1. In addition to eating healthy, we need to do this to help avoid disease.

2. This is the best way to keep from catching a cold or the flu.

3. This mineral is important to avoid anemia, which makes you feel tired, and also makes it hard to concentrate.

4. Teens between the ages of 13-18 purchased 800-1,000 calories in an average fast food visit. What percentage of calories is from sugar and fat?

5. This is the minimum number of minutes each day that children should exercise.

6. This is the best way to prevent injuries when playing certain sports or riding your bike.

Answers: Final Jeopardy - corn; 1 - exercise; 2 - wash hands; 3 - iron; 4 - over 30 percent; 5 - 60 minutes; 6 - Wear a helmet.