Nickelodeon actress encourages HISD kids to eat ‘Lean & Green’

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Students at Gregory Lincoln Educational Center were treated to a visit on Monday by actress Daniella Monet to kick off Houston ISD’s new healthy eating campaign, “Lean & Green Day.”

Best known for her role as Trina Vega on Nickelodeon’s Victorious and red carpet host of the Kids’ Choice Awards, the 25-year-old actress is supporting the district’s health initiative with a poster and video campaign encouraging students to participate in “Meatless Mondays” by eating meat-free at least one day a week.

HISD Food Services’ Nutrition Manager Amanda Oceguera says the district first partnered with the Humane Society on the “Lean & Green Day” initiative last September by introducing one completely vegetarian entrée into menus every Monday. Students throughout the district were offered the option of choosing the healthier selection in order to get familiar with the items and see if they like them.

“Instilling that compassion at a young age is really important, and making small changes like this can benefit the world on such a great scale,” Monet said. “I think for a kid to understand not only is it healthy, [they’re] helping the planet, loving animals and being a part of something that’s so big, especially at a young age.”

The actress spent a portion of her day at the school participating in “Tea Talk” with a group of culinary students, answering questions and giving examples of different vegan meals she enjoys. Monet ate a healthy meat-free lunch with students, spoke to a performing arts class and took a tour of the school’s garden during her visit.

“In December, we started introducing Lean & Green Day and why we were doing it,” said Oceguera. “At that point, we started teaching students about healthy eating, the importance of eating plant-based protein foods and also the importance of the environment.”

HISD Food Services plans to keep the initiative going in every school in order to engage, educate and inspire students to lead healthier lives.

“To make one day just dedicated to something new, fresh, and yummy is definitely a cool way for kids to make a difference,” said Monet.