Lions event gets third-graders thinking healthy

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Detroit — Jamar Cuyler is used to school lunch, so having something different was a change for him.

Jamar, a third-grader at Mason Elementary School in Detroit, was on a special field trip to Eastern Market for the Lions’ Meet Up & Eat Up program on Tuesday, but he wasn’t happy with the selection.

He wanted pizza.

That didn’t go along well with the purpose of the Meet Up & Eat Up program, which focuses on introducing students to healthy food choices and encouraging them to exercise as part of the NFL’s Play 60 program.

So when Jamar went to some of the vendors in Eastern Market, he didn’t see food that he liked and wasn’t happy about it. But Lions receiver Lance Moore walked with Jamar and helped him change his tune.

“Sometimes it takes a little bit for the kids to open up; some of them are more shy than others,” Moore said. “He saw that there was pizza at a couple of the stations and he wanted pizza but the idea being here was to encourage these kids to try to eat healthy.

“I told him that I like strawberries and asked if he like strawberries and he said he did. Unfortunately, there weren’t any strawberries here. I asked if he liked watermelon and he did, so we started from there and we were able to get some things started for him.”

It was just one of the lessons for the 30 third-graders, who also got a chance to jump rope and play Four-Square with Calvin Johnson, Glover Quin and Corey Fuller.

“We’re trying to teach them how important eating healthy is, not just for when you’re young and growing but as you get older, the better things you put in your body, the better your body is going to function for you,” Moore said, “And it starts early.”

Tuesday’s kickoff was the first in the weekly series aimed at Detroit Public Schools students. For participating in the program, each student gets six dollars to spend at the vending stations, with fresh fruit and vegetables.