Get Involved and Start Making a Difference
The School Nutrition Association and its members know that parents are critical partners in teaching children to make nutritious food choices at school. Learn how you can get involved and support healthy school meals.
Support Healthy School Meals
School nutrition programs need the support of parents and families – whether joining students for lunch or making time to talk with them about the food they eat at school, taking an interest in a child’s eating habits can lead to a lifetime of good choices.
Learn more about what you can do to support Tray Talk & healthy school meals.
Simple Things You Can Do Today
Helping Your Child Make Healthy Choices at School and at Home
Parents are essential partners in the health and wellness of children, both during and outside of the school day. Take a look at what you can do at school and at home.
Know what is available on a regular basis at your child’s school. Are vending machines available to students? What products are stocked? Are certain items sold a la carte in the cafeteria? Set some guidelines and limits with your child about how you expect her or him to spend pocket money. Let your child know that you are not indifferent when it comes to foods available at school.
Review the cafeteria menu with your child. Ask questions. Be encouraging about trying new menu items. Plan ahead together. Poor food choices often are the consequence of little or rushed attention to options.
Have lunch with your child in the school cafeteria. See for yourself how school meals look, smell and taste. Many districts feature entrée salads and salad bars; yogurt parfaits; and reduced-fat versions of traditional favorites – like pizza with lowfat cheese and whole-grain crust and fries that are baked and not fried. If you go in with an open mind, you may be surprised at how cafeteria offerings have changed since you were a student!
Familiarize yourself and your child with the Nutrition Facts Label printed on all food and beverage packaging. Be sure to review the listed serving size and the number of servings contained in the package. Many items presumed to be single servings are not.
When it comes to food and exercise, in your family is it “Do as I say” or “Do as I do”? Parents are important role models for their children, particularly those at younger ages, who are most open to parental influence on food choices and physical activity opportunities. America’s obesity epidemic is not restricted to its youngest generation, so it’s important to monitor your own eating and exercise choices.
Try new foods – especially fruits and vegetables – at home. It takes repeated tries for most of us to accept new foods. When you make menu planning and grocery shopping a family activity, it can help all of you to generate greater attention to healthy options and avoid the rut of sticking only with familiar foods.
Need healthy recipe ideas that kids will love? Click here.