Administrators know the value of working with students that are well nourished. Good nutrition promotes not only physical growth and health, but also cognitive development. A balanced diet helps children perform better academically. A hungry or malnourished child may have problems paying attention and staying awake. A healthy eating plan of whole grains, low-fat protein, low-fat dairy and fruits and vegetables improves children's concentration, creative thinking, alertness and problem-solving skills. The new USDA meal pattern promotes good nutrition by offering a variety of healthy options in the right sized portion for each age group. Administrators can set the stage by encouraging students to try new foods and by role modeling healthy behaviors. This toolkit provides administrators with the necessary resources to promote good eating habits and improve learning.
School food service personnel are very important to the educational process. Their hard work allows for students to enjoy a meal that is both nourishing and has the potential to increase a student’s academic performance. The cafeteria is a classroom teaching the importance of good nutrition. The dining area provides an environment that encourages a healthy lifestyle by serving healthful and appetizing school meals. Teaching students that healthy eating can be fun and delicious is an important part of any child nutrition program. The new USDA meal pattern helps students identify the components of a nutritious meal. This toolkit is an educational tool to help encourage students to make smarter food choices.
A healthy lifestyle can help your students succeed academically. There are many activities that can be used to teach children about good nutrition. As an educator, you have an advantage of reinforcing or introducing sound eating habits to your students. Nutrition lessons can be incorporated into any class and may raise awareness and teach sound eating habits for life. The new USDA meal pattern provides the opportunity for students to select a variety of healthy options in the cafeteria. Educators can encourage students on the changes in school meals with class discussions, taste testing new foods or by role modeling. This toolkit provides a collection of excellent resources (brochures, fact sheets, school lessons, and much more) that can be used in the classroom to guide students in making sound meal choices.
Many students eat half their meals at school. It’s important that these meals offer the necessary nutrients required for growth and maintenance of good health. Nutrition information has changed over the years and the USDA has included the latest scientific research in developing the new meal pattern. The new standards reflect the latest knowledge base about health and nutrition. School meals play a critical role in helping children learn how to lead healthy lifestyles. This toolkit provides a number of resources that will assist students in selecting a variety of foods to fuel your body and help you make the right choices.