HealthBarn USA Teaches Kids and Adults Good Nutrition Habits
Joanna Gagis sits down with Stacey Antine, MS, RD, Founder of HealthBarn USA and Author of “Appetite for Life," to discus the unique programs taking place for kids and adults at HealthBarn USA in Ridgewood, NJ. She describes the importance of nutrition education for young children and families and how HealthBarn can teach good habits.
"Welcome back. Our eating habits start to form as early as two years old. And with the rates of obesity-related diseases on the rise, one program is trying to make a difference. Joining me right now is Stacey Antine, Founder of HealthBarn USA in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and Author of Appetite For Life. Welcome to the program. Thanks so much Joanna. What is HealthBarn USA? So HealthBarn was actually a concept that I came up with about 12 years ago, when I was working in a hospital, doing my internship for nutrition, and I saw how kids were getting weighed in, exactly what you were talking about - obesity. And I just felt like we were going in the wrong direction. That it really was more about education as opposed to treatment. So HeathBarn is really that place. It's a real place where kids and families come, they grow their own food, they learn how to cook, and they learn about why these foods are good for their bodies. So describe the physical location... [laughter] And you're in Ridgewood, right? Yeah. What does it look like? What kinds of programs are you running? So I mean it's such a cool space. We're in partnership with the Village of Ridgewood. It was a 10 acre horse farm that was converted to a park. So we're actually in a building - in a house - that we renovated for classrooms. We put in a teaching class... a teaching kitchen, and we have this really beautiful, organic, vegetable garden. We have an outdoor patio where we have a pizza oven. And it really brings to life that when you come here and you grow your own food, it's a lifestyle, which is perfect, and how you want to live, this is how you can actually construct your own home. So it makes it really doable for people. And kids love that they're in a house. They're like, "Does anybody live here?" Right. [laughter] So why kids? Because if you wanted to educate, and you wanted to teach, why not start with the parents? Because the kids are actually completely different these days. When I was younger, if I didn't want to do something, my parents told me, "this is what you're doing." Today, kids have a say as early as two and three. If they don't want to do something, they don't... the parents don't make them do it. Which is good and bad. But kids are so empowered, they make their own food choices, they're very specific about what they like and don't like, so for me, personally..."