Franklin Elementary School was overrun on Saturday with the happy faces of children, parents and Santa Barbara Junior League members as they learned how to make healthy food choices, had a blast exercising in fun ways and were educated on some easy eating and fitness tips — all part of the second annual Kids in the Kitchen event, “Spring Into Health Day.”

The event hosted local schoolchildren and their parents from varying Santa Barbara communities and taught them entertaining and energizing lessons about healthy eating and exercise habits.

Several community organizations also committed to fighting childhood obesity were present at the event. This year’s Kids in the Kitchen partners included American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Everybody Dance Now, First 5 California, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, chef Laurel Lyle of Peabody Charter School, Network for a Healthy California-Champions for Change, Orfalea Foundations’ s’Cool Food, Partnership for Fit Youth, chef Eric Pomert of Little Spoons Café, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Santa Barbara School District, Santa Barbara Family YMCA and Ventura County Public Health Department.

On Saturday, these organizations, along with the Junior League of Santa Barbara, helped educate all participants about some surprising eating and drinking habits in which they may have been unknowingly participating. They were shocked to learn just how much sugar is in drinks that are part of our everyday diet, such as juice and soda.

Laurel Lyle, executive chef at Peabody Charter School, was the biggest hit of the day when she helped children prepare a delicious and healthy ratatouille and wheat roll lunch. Each ingredient was fresh and wholesome, and attendees learned how to make the same meal on their own at home.

Jennifer Guess, left, works on a culinary creation with Laurel Lyle, executive chef at Peabody Charter School

Jennifer Guess, left, works on a culinary creation with Peabody Charter School chef Laurel Lyle. (Ashley Dowse photo)

Inside the cafeteria, children were eating and being entertained by groups of kids dancing to music and learning how to stretch properly.

“It was such a great event,” said Julie Teel, Junior League member and mother of a “Spring Into Health Day” attendee. “It was fun and so inspiring to see all the kids learning healthy habits and enjoying themselves so much.”

Debi Badger, the partner representative from the Santa Barbara School District said, “This event was a huge success. These kids and parents really got the message (about healthy choices), and had fun.”

The following is a healthy recipe for a Banana-Peach Shake from the Kids in the Kitchen Web site:


3/4 cup fat-free milk
2/3 cup sliced ripe banana
1/2 cup peeled, sliced fresh peach
1½ cups vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt


» Combine the first three ingredients in a blender.
» Cover and process until smooth.
» Add the frozen yogurt; process until smooth. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 155
Calories from fat: 2 percent
Fat: 0.3g
Saturated fat: 0.1g
Mono unsaturated fat: 0.1g
Poly unsaturated fat: 0.1g
Carbohydrates: 34g Protein: 6.4g
Fiber: 1.4g
Cholesterol: 1mg
Sodium: 99mg
Calcium: 222mg
Iron: 0.2mg

The Junior League of Santa Barbara is thankful to all community supporters and participants who helped make the second annual Kids in the Kitchen “Spring Into Health Day” a big success.

— Kielle Horton is a member of Junior League of Santa Barbara.