Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

childhood obesity schoolCreating and encouraging healthy eating environment in schools :

Encourage healthy nutrition in classrooms implementing a healthy classroom snack and classroom party policy :

• Implement a healthy classroom snack and classroom party policies to support healthy nutrition in the classroom. Teachers, and schools, can implement full-time or part-time classroom snack and classroom party policies that promote those foods in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 (http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/), including plenty of fruits and vegetables.

• Plan classroom parties that comprise 100-percent juice or water, cheese/cracker trays, and vegetables with low-fat dip as well as items such as animal and graham crackers, fruit cups, and multi-grain bars.

healthy classroom party

• Implementing a classroom snack policy may also include an all-staff or all-student in-service assembly with fruit and vegetable taste-testing, and parent letters orienting all parties to the rationale and importance of the policy.

Resources : Making It Happen! School Nutrition Success Stories
Institute of Medicine - Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools

Implement a kid-friendly nutrition information sharing program in your school cafeteria :

• School canteens should be healthy and active. Foods which are being sold in the cafeteria should be considered for nutritional content. When students pass through a serving line, they should be given simple, easy-to-understand information on the items they select.

kid friendly school canteen

• Items such as pizza are labeled Whoa! Items such as spaghetti are labeled Slow! Fruits and vegetables are labeled Go! As such, students are able to quickly determine which foods are the smarter choices. Nutrition lessons in the classroom can help supplement this program.

Resources : Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools by Institute of Medicine
Steps to a Healthier US grantee
We Can Go, Slow, and Whoa Foods

A coalition of five medical associations and the USDA proposed a "Prescription for Change: Ten Keys to Promote Healthy Eating in Schools" to be used for guidance in school nutrition programs. Their prescription is:

► Students, parents, food service staff, educators and community leaders will be involved in assessing the school's eating environment, developing a shared vision and an action plan to achieve it.
Adequate funds will be provided by local, state and federal sources to ensure that the total school environment supports the development of healthy eating patterns.
Behavior-focused nutrition education will be integrated into the curriculum from pre-K through grade 12. Staff who provide nutrition education will have appropriate training.
School meals will meet the USDA nutrition standards as well as provide sufficient choices, including new foods and foods prepared in new ways, to meet the taste preferences of diverse student populations.

childhood obesity prevention

All students will have designated lunch periods of sufficient length to enjoy eating healthy foods with friends. These lunch periods will be scheduled as near the middle of the school day as possible.
Schools will provide enough serving areas to ensure student access to school meals with a minimum of wait time.
Space that is adequate to accommodate all students and pleasant surroundings that reflect the value of the social aspects of eating will be provided.
Students, teachers and community volunteers who practice healthy eating will be encouraged to serve as role models in the school dining areas.
If foods are sold in addition to National School Lunch Program meals, they will be from the five major food groups of the Food Guide Pyramid. This practice will foster healthy eating patterns.
Decisions regarding the sale of foods in addition to the National School Lunch Program meals will be based on nutrition goals, not on profit making.

nutrition education in schoolMake sure that all foods and beverages sold or served outside of school meal programs are nutritious :

• Foods and beverages students choose may be low in nutritional value with high calorie. The most commonly available items are high-fat salty snacks, high-fat baked goods (e.g. French fries), soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks high in sugar, fat, and calories. School nutrition standards should provide students with healthy choices throughout the school day that are consistent with and support positive nutrition education messages received in the classroom.

nutritional school mealNutrition Standards for Foods in Schools gives detailed suggestions for foods and beverages supplied outside of school meal programs that schools, districts and states should consider when developing or increasing policies for nutrition in schools. Like, talk to your school’s vending company about offering more nutritious choices in their machines. Ask the company to remove or reduce the availability of soft drinks and replace this with bottled water. Many vending companies have discovered that some of the healthier snacks in the vending machines sold just as well as candy and chips. As a result, these vending companies have traded candy machines for “healthy choices” snack machines that included nuts, crackers, snack mix, and other nutrient-rich items.

Resources : Healthy Schools: Local Wellness Policy (with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Education)


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