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Kids Are Wasting Less and Eating Healthier - Let's Keep It that Way

Parents and teachers know that kids can be hard to please. Many are particular about their clothes, their favorite colors, and often, their food preferences. So when the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act updated the nutrition standards in school cafeterias across the country, many feared that students wouldn’t adjust well to the new menu options.

Last month, the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut published a study showing that across the country kids are actually eating more fruit and throwing away less of their entrees and vegetables than before the changes went into effect.

That’s great news for school nutrition professionals who work hard every day to make sure that kids get the healthy food they need at school to focus in class and perform on tests. We know that proper nutrition is important at school – after all, healthy kids learn better – so we asked a few of our school nutrition champions to share their strategies for preventing food waste in the cafeteria.

Check out their creative tips:

  • At Chandler Unified School District in Arizona, Cathy Giza, retired director of child nutrition and wellness, shares that moving recess before lunch helped to prevent students from rushing outside to play before finishing meals. Working up an appetite also encourages students to eat every last bite.
  • Sharon Foley, food service director for Whitley County School District in Kentucky, encourages “share tables” where students can donate unopened food for others to supplement their meals.
  • In Broward County, Florida, Darlene Moppert, program manager for nutrition education and training, recommends slicing fruits into sections rather than serving whole fruit. Little fingers are more likely to devour bite-sized portions if they don’t have to peel them.
  • Each school in the Metropolitan School District of Pike Township in Indianapolis, Indiana offers a fresh fruit and vegetable bar where students can choose their own servings of salad and sliced fruits and vegetables. Betsy Horneffer, resident district manager with Chartwells, says this helps students learn to only take what they can eat.

Know a successful strategy to make sure kids keep cleaning their plates? Please share it with us. And if your school is not already enrolled, join the Healthy Schools Program to receive more resources, tips, and support to build a healthier learning environment at your school.

 

 

 

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