There are a lot of creative ways for schools to encourage their students and staff to eat healthy. Various national programs even offer funding to help jump-start healthy eating initiatives. See some tips below for integrating healthy eating into your schools, or check out our funding page for more healthy eating opportunities.
The mission of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement is to equip school lunchrooms with evidence-based tools that improve child eating behaviors in order to improve the health of children.
A smarter lunchroom is one that makes it easy for kids to choose nutritious foods. This program applies research-based principles that lead children to make healthy choices when provided with the full spectrum of choice. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which feeds over 30 million children, can be a valuable partner in this endeavor, since NSLP provides an opportunity for kids to select and consume a balance diet.
How “smart” is your lunchroom? Use this assessment tool to find out: Smarter Lunchroom Score Card
Quick tips to make your lunchroom smarter:
What is Taste Testing? Taste testing is a tool that introduces students to the smell, texture, and flavor of new foods. Taste testing is a fun way to introduce children to new foods they may have never tried before, either alone or in a recipe. Schools can hold taste testing in the classroom or in the cafeteria.
Why is Taste Testing Beneficial? The school environment is a place where children can learn about where food comes from, and about its nutritional value. Learning about food and watching peers and teachers try new foods motivates students to taste foods that they may not have experienced before at home or in the cafeteria. Taste testing foods before adding them to the daily menu encourages students to try new foods, creates satisfied customers, and helps save money by reducing food waste.
While healthy practices are great, policies that support and protect healthy practices are even better. See ideas for and examples of healthy classroom policies on the Ohio Action for Healthy Kids website.