January 9, 2017
Studies show that children eat approximately one-third of their daily food intake while at school.
When students have the option, they are more likely to purchase foods and beverages that are high in calories, fats, and/or sugar. On the school campus these foods are called competitive foods because they compete with school meals. These options are frequently found in places such as vending machines, school stores, à la carte lines, class parties, and as fundraisers.
Setting the stage requires wellness policies with guides to meet standards for healthier choices. For the policies to be successful they also need widespread acceptance. From the people who implement the policy to those who are impacted by it, success has the greatest potential when the following actions are taken:
- Involve everyone in the process, including the creation and implementation of the policies. If you don’t have a Student Advisory Group (SAG), it can be very helpful to create one. SAG can conduct surveys with peers to obtain constructive feedback.
- Instead of “reinventing the wheel,” learn from the lessons learned by others. See the January 11th issue of the WOWS Newsletter for helpful resources.
- Through marketing and nutrition education, create an interest in wellness. The Healthy Kids Challenge Explore MyPlate With School Nutrition Guidebook is an easy-to-use guide with tips and tools for school nutrition services managers and wellness teams! Action ideas are designed to increase participation through marketing and promotion and help meet the HealthierUS School Challenge. Content includes MyPlate, trivia, bulletin boards, food science experiments to link with curriculum standards, menu planning tips, and fun ideas for youth advisory councils. The guidebook is designed for programs serving students in grades K-8.
September 19, 2016
Schools participating in the HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms Initiative are working towards helping kids make healthy eating choices a habit. A smarter lunchroom is one that nudges kids towards nutritious foods.
Solutions for creating Smarter Lunchrooms are low cost/no-cost and easily implemented, such as:
- Creating an appealing lunchroom environment
- Promoting healthful eating behaviors
- Sustaining the positive changes made
Best practices and lunchroom solutions that the Smarter Lunchrooms Initiative endorses have been studied and proven effective in a wide variety of schools across the nation. Examples include:
- Moving and highlighting fruit increased sales of fruit by up to 102%
- Naming vegetables and displaying the new names with the foods increased selection of vegetables from between 40% – 70%
- Placing white milk first in the lunchroom coolers has resulted in an increase of up to 46% in white milk sales
Studies have also shown that:
- The first of highlighted entrée on the lunch line has an 11% advantage over the second option
- The number of students consuming “healthy items” increased by 35% after the introduction of a “healthy choices only” convenience line
Over 30 million children are fed by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Smarter Lunchrooms are making a healthy difference!