The Georgia Academy for the Blind (GAB) is helping students with disabilities to be “Ready for the World” through a school meal program focusing on healthy foods and good eating skills.
The GAB Dining Hall has become an extension of the classroom. Meals are served family style, allowing teachers to work with students on skills such as setting their place at the table, passing plates and bowls of food, independently serving themselves, pouring their own drinks, and cleaning the table.
The GAB nutrition staff designs menus that provide students with a wide variety of healthy foods, such as fresh blackberries and pineapple, as well as the opportunities to open a variety of packages (yogurt containers, bread bags, milk cartons, and zip lock bags), to develop skills such as spreading and cutting food items; and to scoop vegetables from a bowl or spear meat on a tray to serve themselves.
The nutrition staff has also incorporated recipes using less salt and fat, and more whole grains and fresh produce. To encourage students to try these healthier choices, the nutrition program provides teachers with whole fruits like pineapples, kiwi and bananas, allowing teachers to conduct sensory exploration lessons in the classroom. All these efforts have helped GAB students expand their palates and develop the skills to be “Ready for the World.”