Michael Martinez carefully collects freshly squeezed apple juice from the juicer, a crucial ingredient in the fruit smoothie he is creating.
Martinez, 16, is part of a Desert View High School club where peer leaders teach other students about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.
"I really like teaching other kids about nutrition and physical education," Martinez said. "And I've tried new things. I go home and tell my mom and dad about what I learned. I ask them to buy fruits and vegetables rather than chips and junk food."
Martinez is one of about 30 high school students in the Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson teaching other kids about the benefits of healthy eating. They visit classrooms with their bag of tricks – vegetable steamers, juicers, egg cookers and air popcorn poppers – to teach kids how to fix quick, tasty and healthful snacks.
This club is supported by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Nutrition Education (SNAP-Ed). The SNAP-Ed program is administered through the UACE and Nutrition Network in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the SNAP-Ed program. SNAP-Ed programs provide nutrition and physical activity education to people who are eligible for USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance.
Heather Ottenbacher, program coordinator at UA Nutrition Network, said kids' spreading the word about healthy eating is a powerful tool in the fight against obesity.
Students also reach out to middle school students, taking part in field days and creating healthy snacks, said Desert View teacher Jeri Garcia. "It's really turned into a leadership program," she said.
Sixteen-year-old Luis Barbosa, who has a new found love of broccoli, said the club gives him leadership skills. "And I like it because we help kids learn to be healthy."