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STUDENTS GET A WORKOUT AND A MEATLESS MEAL

April 13, 2002 – Razzilee Oquendo and Daniella Bridgewater, both 10, spent their Friday lunch period "eating healthy" as part of the Julius E. Sprauve School's "Changing the Scene: Exercise and Eat Right Day."
Earlier in the day, the two friends had occupied the better part of an hour exercising in the adjacent Winston Wells Ballfield with the rest of Sprauve's 350 students and faculty. They were led by their own "personal trainers" — a team from Gold's Gym on St. Thomas that had come over for the day.
"It's good for our bodies, so when we grow up we have good health," Razzilee said.
Daniella thought the food was better than what they usually get for school lunch. Razzilee was so impressed that she said it was like the food usually found in restaurants.
The school's kitchen staff, led by home economics teacher Joyce Sprauve, replaced the usual ground beef in the spaghetti sauce with soy-based textured vegetable protein, usually called TVP. The sauce was served over spinach pasta and accompanied by vegetables and fruit. A side order of garlic bread slathered with healthier olive oil instead of butter was available.
No one told the students ahead of time that they were eating TVP, and most would never have guessed. "I liked the beef. It had taste. Not like the other beef," said Oshe Feldman.
Oshe, 9, didn't care for the exercises, however. He said he didn't like the jumping up and down.
Sprauve said the healthful menu was just as easy to prepare as the usual school lunches. Lecia Richmond, the school's physical education teacher and organizer of the event, said her goal is to turn around the poor eating habits and lack of exercise of many students. "We want to incorporate nutrition and exercise into the curriculum," she said.
It will take ongoing efforts. After finishing their healthful lunches, many students were trekking over to the school office to buy cookies, chips and other snacks. "That's going to change," Richmond promised.
She had approached various businesses to help get the students off to a good start on the road to fitness. In addition to Gold's Gym providing training staff for the workout, area businesses donated drinks and food.
Richmond said she hopes other schools will follow suit. "Nutrition and exercise are key factors for being a healthier person, and these factors must be fostered early in life," she said.

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