You Are What You Eat

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The nutritional content and health of school lunch food has been getting a lot of attention lately and is beginning to change how parents and school staff look at the food we serve our students. But it’s likely that a lot more can be done to achieve a truly sustainable and healthy food program at your school. 

Food is a great way to connect with a wide audience and talk about sustainability issues like social justice, economics, agriculture, operations, health, and more. Consider using food as a tool for change on your campus. This can be done through a school vegetable garden to help students understand where food comes from or working with students to prepare fresh meals or snacks made with local ingredients. 

Get started

  • Survey students and teachers about their perceptions and level of nutrition knowledge to guide education efforts.
  • Consider hosting a taste test. 
    • Consider using samples of:
      • Local vegetables vs. canned vegetables
      • Tap water vs. bottled water
      • Organic vs. non-organic
    • Take the 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.

Additional resources

Project spotlight

Detroit International Academy for Young Women in Detroit, Michigan

“Our group of students used the fresh produce from our garden to introduce healthy eating choices to students. The project allowed students to discuss amongst themselves the foods they eat and learn how to prepare nutritious snacks and meals from the plants they nurtured and harvested.”