Students spend half their waking hours and consume up to half their daily calories at school. Thus, it is imperative for schools to promote healthy eating. A school’s food environment consists not only of the meals served in the cafeteria, but also includes snack and al la carte items, vending machines, student rewards, classroom party foods, school stores, fundraisers, and PTA events.
The Greater Richmond Coalition for Healthy Children offers valuable resources to elementary, middle, and high schools to improve their school food environments. During the 2013-2014 academic year, the Coalition awarded mini-grants to schools in the region to support their own initiatives to make school a more nourishing place. The grants funded student cooking clubs, healthier options for after school snacks, and taste testings to familiarize children with fruits and vegetables offered in the cafeteria.
The Coalition has also developed a toolkit to assist schools in these efforts. The toolkit offers guidance on building a school wellness committee, assessing the current state of a school food environment, and prioritizing steps to improve it. Coalition members are happy to provide technical assistance to any school interested in improving their school food environment.
Want to give it a try at your school? Contact Bethany at firstname.lastname@example.org.