You Are What You Eat
You can plant a school vegetable garden to help students understand where food comes from (check out the School Garden project idea). You can work with kids to prepare fresh meals or snacks that they can enjoy on the spot. Food is a great way to connect with a wide audience and talk about sustainability issues spanning topics such as social justice, economics, agriculture, operations, health and more.
Remember to track your impact in increased servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains eaten by students or in decreased grams of sugars served or consumed on campus.
- Consider hosting a taste test with samples of local vegetables vs. canned vegetables; tap water vs. bottled water; organic vs. non organic, and take this opportunity to educate your taste testers. Make student opinions visible to the school to start a conversation about healthy food.
- Investigate how food is purchased and brought to your school. Learn what initiatives for healthy food in schools are already in place. Connect with community partners who can bring expertise and resources to help make school lunches healthier and bring fresh food to students.
- Work with the school lunch provider to provide a menu with additional health information for one week at the school, and provide this menu to each student. Survey students and teachers about their perceptions and level of nutrition knowledge to guide future education efforts.
- Encourage teachers to incorporate food education into their lesson planning using in-depth curriculum resources from Learning Lab.
Use these resources for ideas and solutions to nutrition challenges in schools:
- The Alliance for a Healthier Generation provides detailed guidance and expertise on beverages and snacks, breakfast and lunch, and health education. Specific suggestions for school lunch menus are included on the web site.
- Students can get involved in creating their own healthy, delicious meals and competing nationally for recognition through the Healthy Schools Campaign’s Cooking Up Change program.
- Participate in the USDA’s Healthier US School Challenge for Smarter Lunchrooms to receive recognition for a job well done.