Packed into the Richland 1 central kitchen Thursday, about 300 students from after-school programs learned about making better food choices.
The lesson: It's all about fun.
The teacher: Chef Marvin Woods, television host, cookbook author, famous chef - and crusader against childhood obesity.
Wearing his signature bandanna, Woods used a little music, some hand-clapping, plenty of high fives and his upbeat personality to bring his message home. And he passed on some healthful cooking tips along the way.
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It was all part of the "Lights On After School," a national day to promote and recognize after-school programs.
"I use fun tips that they would need to have a healthy, balanced lifestyle," Woods said.
That included having kids yell "FRESH" and "FROZEN" very, very loudly, as a way to teach them to stay away from canned vegetables and go for the more healthful choice.
With assistance from his "sous chefs" - students who had won contests at participating schools (and who also were wearing bandannas) - Woods prepared whole wheat wraps filled with grilled chicken, apples, peppers and avocados along with spices.
(Some of the kids in the audience balked when he added red peppers. "No, it's not hot," he told them. "It's a bell pepper. It's kind of sweet." Next he told them the importance of tasting everything - pointing out that a taste includes a full bite, chewing and swallowing.)
"Nine times out of 10, the majority of the kids are not familiar with half the things I'm talking about. We have to wake them up to something they didn't know they were asleep to," he said before the event. "That's how we're gonna change this."
"This" is childhood obesity, something that caught Woods' attention about four years ago when he was working as a chef in Atlanta. He approached the Atlanta public schools, and his first step was listening to kids, trying to learn about their experiences in school cafeterias. He didn't like what he heard.
"A lot of the food in schools is just junk. It's full of sugar and carbs and fat, and it's not cheap. That's appalling to me."
The more he learned about the regulations governing school meals, the more outraged he became.
"My goal is to rally the troops. To bring the numbers together and stand together to get the rules and regulations changed," he said. "If we don't push for a change, we're going to be talking about childhood obesity for another 40 or 50 years."