Somerville Students Visit Main Street Restaurants to Learn About Healthy Choices

Luigi Gerardi spins pizza dough into shape as Alfonso's Restaurant in Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Alfonso's James Nelson talks about healthy food choices with students from Somerville Middle School. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Luigi Gerardi spreads sauce on pizza dough before it is sprinkled with cheese. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Somerville Middle School students enjoy pizza at Alfonso's Restaurant as part of the E3 program - Explore, Eat & Exercise. Credits: Rod Hirsch

SOMERVILLE, NJ – It’s all about healthy choices for students in the Somerville Middle School E3 Club.

Subsidized with a $1,000 grant from the non-profit agency EmPoWER  Somerset, the students, along with parents Jessica Dale and Jennifer Adamec, meet once a month to learn about nutrition and to better understand the need to be wise when it comes to the foods they eat.

Their most recent field trip took the E3 students to Alfonso’s on Main Street, where they looked on as Luigi Gerardi worked his magic on balls of pizza dough, including some dramatic overhead twirls to stretch the dough into the desired size for the pie before adding the sauce and cheese.

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Alfonso’s employee James Nelson instructed the E3 club members on the ingredients and nutritional value of pizza, while providing a running commentary on Gerardi’s prowess behind the counter at one the borough’s most popular restaurants.

Afterwards, the students were seated in the dining room and were served the pies made by Gerardi fresh out of the oven.

The club name E3 is reflective of its principles – Explore, Eat and Exercise.

Dale, who works at EmPoWER Somerset, reached out to Adamec when she learned of the grant program sponsored by the non-profit agency.

Parents as Champions required attendance in a 5-week course geared towards helping participants learn more about healthy choices.

Successful completion of the course enabled the parents to submit a proposal for funding; Dale and Adamec reached out to Somerville Middle School principal Georgette Boulegeris for her approval and submitted their plan, which received approval from EmPoWER Somerset.

The first club meeting in October featured a presentation by a nutritionist from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset, followed by a visit to the Dunkin’Donuts on Main Street where the students were challenged to select healthy choice items from the fast food menu.

Next month the E3 club will visit Boulevard Seafood and Conlin’s Café & Bakery as they continue their pursuit of healthy choices along Main Street.

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