Students learn health lessons via smoothie-bike visit

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published March 28, 2017

 Royal Oak High School Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Don Watchowski rides a smoothie bike March 8 during National School 
Breakfast Week.

Royal Oak High School Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Don Watchowski rides a smoothie bike March 8 during National School Breakfast Week.

Photo provided by Royal Oak Schools

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ROYAL OAK — Seeing Don Watchowski in an athletic setting is pretty common.

What isn’t as common for the Royal Oak High School athletic director and vice principal is harnessing power from an indoor bicycle to run a smoothie maker.

“We had a good time with it,” he said. “It was fun.”

Watchowski partnered with Food Service Director Mike Jacobs to promote exercise and healthy eating during National School Breakfast Week March 6-10 by serving free strawberry-banana smoothie samples made on the bicycle.

“Instead of, obviously, a blender that’s plugged in, this required you to pedal,” Watchowski said. “So we were providing the energy, and it was a nice combination of physical activity habits and healthy eating habits.”

Jacobs explained that the smoothie bike is a new feature this year in the food service department, which is run by Chartwells.

“It is designed to generate excitement about physical activity and also a healthy breakfast,” he said.

Although Watchowski won’t be powering students’ orders moving forward, the yogurt-based drinks will remain available throughout the school year.

Jacobs said the smoothies follow US Department of Agriculture guidelines, and the drinks are offered to all students for $1.25, a reduced cost of 40 cents or free depending on the student’s lunch plan. Students may select a grain component and a milk as well.

Jacobs said Watchowski was chosen  to pedal the bike during the special event March 8 because he is a school celebrity and because of his “tireless stamina.”

“The kids were great,” Watchowski said. “They had a ton of fun with it and they loved the smoothies.”

Jacobs said breakfast participation jumped 50 percent that morning.

“Kids loved them,” he said. “Many students were posting videos on Facebook, Instagram and the like.”

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