The fight against childhood obesity in the US is getting stronger by the minute, as schools continue to look for ways on how to improve the food they’d be serving the students this coming school year. Among the new healthier menus being cooked up for the incoming student bodies are: jicama, star fruit, sweet potato puffs, collard greens, edamame, egg-white omelets, and fish tacos.
In a new survey completed recently by nutrition directors in 538 districts around the country, 95 percent of the surveyed schools are increasing whole-grain offerings and 90 percent are including more fresh fruits and vegetables in their school meals. In addition, it was also recorded that around 69 percent are reducing sodium content and 66 percent are reducing added sugar in their menus. And best of all and this will surely make a lot more parents feel happier, 67 percent of those with vending machines are making healthier drinks more available for students.
While it’s great news already how schools are so hellbent in promoting good nutrition to students and earnestly doing their part by ensuring that healthier ingredients are blended in their cafeteria meals, schools have also started using more open tactics in educating its students about nutritious foods.
In Somerville, Massachusetts their science curriculum is being linked to the “Vegetable of the Month” campaign and features color posters with nutritional and cultural information on every nutritious foods, from beans to broccoli.
Norfolk, Virginia, schools are involving their students by using the “student-selected, student-approved” strategy. Food-tastings are being conducted among students to make sure that every nutritious meal to be served this school year will not go to waste. Hummus dip for baby carrots and a pasta salad made of whole-grain rotini and garbanzo beans are among those that passed the students’ taste buds. In addition, cucumber spears, red and green pepper strips, strawberries, and blueberries will be added for the fruit and vegetable options.
What’s even more inspiring in all these efforts is that even First Lady Michelle Obama is gearing up in her “Let’s Move” project, as she highly encourages not only students and school administrators but also parents and local officials to do their part in ending childhood obesity. The First Lady believes that a healthy lifestyle should start at an early age and that we should all start moving to achieve the goal, and nutritious school meals are definitely a good starting point to make it happen. What’s even more encouraging is we’re seeing companies like Fresh Healthy Vending turn up at schools around the country offering healthy options in the vending machines where junk food reigned for the last few decades. They are offering fresh yogurts, smoothies, 100% fruit juices along with a wide range of other healthy snacks. Now this is a healthy franchise business that school districts around the country should be considering as the 2010 school year gets underway.