Good nutrition begins at home but what happens when children are at the mercy of the school system? There are things you can do to help ensure your children are eating nutritionally at school. Sending a packed lunch does not necessarily ensure kids are actually eating what was sent in the lunch bag. How you can be sure the meals the school is serving is nutritious? The USDA created Team Nutrition to help parents coordinate with schools to help kids follow a healthier eating lifestyle. Everyone on the team has a role in helping kids become fit and to eat healthier foods.
Join your child for lunch. Make it a point to eat breakfast or lunch with your child. This will give you the opportunity to see what is being served and the environment of the mealtime. If you do not like what you see, you can take further action.
Talk to others. Talk to other parents and make your opinion heard. Participate in PTA and work with the school board to support healthy meals.
Discuss your principles. Make an appointment to talk with the school’s principal and discuss the importance of good nutrition and physical activity. Suggest programs to enhance these ideals and ask for cooperation and follow through.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Anita Peppers, Source: MorguefileKnow what meals are planned for school lunch. Get a weekly menu of the school meals. Make sure they meet the U.S. Government Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ask for the nutritional facts of the meals. Keep the menu posted in an easily accessed area such as on the refrigerator door and discuss healthy choices with your kids.
Work with the foodservice staff. Visit the cafeteria if the school has one, and get to know the staff. Acknowledge their value in the services they provide and let them know how much you appreciate good nutrition for your child.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Anita Peppers, Source: MorguefilePlant a seed. Show your kids and their friends where healthy food comes from and help their school start a garden of fruits and vegetables. This is a good way to improve the landscape of the school grounds while teaching kids valuable lessons on healthy foods.
Have a tasting party. Volunteer to put together a tasting party in the classroom. Bring nutritious foods kids may not have tried and encourage the kids to try the new foods. Make sure to have this be a fun, learning activity so kids will be encouraged to try the foods and make some changes in their food choices.
Teach your children. Teach your kids to appreciate the value of a healthy breakfast and lunch. Help them understand how nutritious meals improve their minds and bodies.
Listen to your children. Find out what your kids are learning in school about nutrition. You can help them integrate that knowledge into making good decisions about food choices.
Teaching your kids the value of nutrition helps guide them in making better food choices. You cannot always be with them to control what they eat, but through teaching children about the importance of eating healthy you can help encourage them to make wise decisions. Teaching by example will go a long way in instilling that knowledge in your kids.
The copyright of the article 10 Steps for Parents for Increasing Healthy Eating at School is owned by Cheryl Weldon and permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
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