Jun. 1, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
New York Mets outfielder Mark Canha joined students at P.S. 201Q Discovery School for Inquiry and Research in Flushing on May 31 to encourage healthy eating. During the Eat Smart with the Mets event, Canha joined students for a cooking lesson as they learned to create a healthy meal together.
Eat Smart with the Mets was organized through a partnership between the Amazin’ Mets Foundation, GrowNYC and Empire BlueCross BlueShield. The event is meant to encourage healthy eating and provide nutritional knowledge for these young students.
Canha joined the kids in chopping up and mixing vegetables as they created “Terrific tomato and herb dip.” Canha also talked to the kids about some of his favorite healthy foods and the importance of eating healthy.
“[My wife and I] try to have our kids eat plenty of healthy things [like] fruits and vegetables,” Canha said. “We also let them eat sugar sometimes. I think it’s very important to have moderation in everything that we eat. Fruits and vegetables are not just something that we have to eat. They can be delicious as well. Sometimes they can be the most delicious part of a meal.”
In addition to being a great baseball player, Canha has earned a reputation as an avid foodie. He often posts pictures of meals that he gets during his travels to various cities across the season on his Instagram page, bigleaguefoodie. He’s earned a large following through this, as he also describes the meals to viewers. He also recently created a YouTube channel, BigLeagueFoodie Chronicles, in which he and various Mets teammates discuss their food habits.
“I think affecting young people is the most important and best parts of my job,” Canha said. “The fact that this is a food-related venture and part of what the Amazin’ Mets Foundation is doing, I jumped right in. I hope these kids realize that great food and cooking is something that could be fun and not that difficult. There’s a lot that can be taught about sustainability and eating healthy. It’s just all good things when it comes to the health of these kids and the environment. I’m glad that this program is here for these kids.”
The vegetables used by the kids to prepare their meals was grown locally by GrowNYC. They also learned about growing food and sustainability.
“I think that for so many kids, it helps to foster that relationship with nature and where food comes from,” GrowNYC Director of Education Kristin Fields said. “We know statistically that kids are more likely to try fruits and vegetables if they’ve had a hand in growing them.”
According to P.S. 201Q Principal Umit Serin, the school has been partnered with these organizations since the 2020-21 school year. He said that he’s hopeful this partnership will continue for a long time.
“This is a program that we very well love because it’s important for our students to learn a healthy eating style and to get to experiment with fresh food,” Serin said. “This experience was amazing. The children really enjoyed it.”
“Empire BlueCross BlueShield is very proud to partner with the Mets and GrowNYC to make sure our young kids maintain health throughout their whole lives,” Empire BlueCross BlueShield Director of Sales Chris Miceli said. “There are multiple ways we can get through to kids and an event like this is a great way to maintain health and show them how to cook healthy meals and have recipes that are healthy for them.”
For Canha, he ended up showing just what healthy eating could do later that night during the Mets game. He recorded two hits that evening, including a home run, and drove in all four runs in the Mets’ 4-1 win.