Nutrition in Schools
Aug 12, 2013
"Parents have a right to expect that their efforts at home won't be undone each day in the school cafeteria or in the vending machine in the hallway. Parents have a right to expect that their kids will be served fresh, healthy food that meets high nutritional standards."
- Michelle Obama
As health problems plague an increasing number of children throughout the United States, Michelle Obama and other advocates for healthy lifestyle initiatives are focusing on the role schools play in the fight against childhood obesity. While parents can make an effort to serve healthy meals and teach their children about nutrition, for children participating in school lunch programs, over half of their daily energy intake comes from the food they consume in school. Therefore, schools have a responsibility to place a high value on nutrition and consistently provide a variety of healthy choices for all students.
However, many schools still serve meals that exceed USDA guidelines for recommended daily intake of fat and sugars. This is particularly problematic for items served at snack bars and in vending machines, where students are likely to find chips, candy, soda and other unhealthy options. When children fill up on these kinds of unhealthy foods during the day, they upset the balance of nutrients needed for a proper diet.
At World Academy, we pride ourselves in serving fresh, nutritious foods that appeal to students and contribute to a well-balanced diet. Each day, we offer a carefully planned selection of lunch and snack items incorporating whole grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy and protein to match food pyramid recommendations. We do not serve chips, candy, confections, soda or sugared juice.
For parents of students with dietary restrictions, maintaining proper nutrition while carefully monitoring ingredients and nutrition labels can be an even bigger challenge. We accommodate the unique needs of each of our students by offering ethnic choices, vegetarian options and substitutions for students with peanut, gluten, dairy or other food allergies. Every day we set up a salad bar full of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy toppings and a selection of dressings. Students may also bring their own brown bag lunches from home if they prefer to do so.
The importance of providing healthy food that is appealing to all students should never be underestimated. As children grow and develop, it is critical that they regularly consume proper nutrients and develop healthy eating habits that will serve them into adulthood. Schools play a critical role in promoting nutrition for all students and emphasizing the positive effects of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.