NORTH HAVEN — Fifthgrade students at Ridge Road Elementary School are featured in the new documentary film, “The Kids Menu.”
Kate Corcoran, who has taught at the school since 2003, instructs students how to include fruits and vegetables into their daily diet and avoid the processed foods they normally select.
“I incorporated it into a math lesson,” Corcoran said. “I asked them to name 10 items they eat every day and determine what percent of their day involves processed foods. Then they would try to plan for next week with smart swaps.”
A scene from the film, shot in March 2015, shows Corcoran instructing her students, who make lists of the items and discuss their selections. The film will be available on iTunes and Netflix.
Australian filmmaker Joe Cross, well-known for his “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” documentary films, made “The Kids Menu” after appeals from his fans to focus on childhood obesity.
“We heard about the incredible work being done by a North Haven school teacher so we reached out to her,” Cross said. “She is integrating nutrition into her curriculum and we thought it was fascinating, so we reached out.”
“The Kids Menu” begins with segments on food being grown on a Brooklyn rooftop and healthy foods being consumed in Chicago before attention turns to the Ridge Road School in North Haven.
Corcoran hopes youngsters will devote 50 percent of their food choices to fruits and vegetables. “They can grab fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of Doritos or Pop-Tarts,” she said. “We offer tips about healthy eating and shopping in the perimeter of a grocery store, where the produce is.”
Most of her students eat breakfast and lunch at school, and the school menu is full of processed food items, Corcoran said.
“The school should change the foods it offers, because if you put out healthy choices, they’ll take them,” she said. “We had a healthy feast with fresh fruits and veggie platters and green smoothies with nothing processed, and the kids ate it all.”
“The Kids Menu,” an 85-minute film, produced by Reboot Media, is available on iTunes on April 1. Visit www.thekidsmenumovie.com for information and to see a trailer.