Applying Nutrition Policies and Practices
Nutrition plays a vital role in children's health and their ability to learn. School districts can improve students' overall access to healthy food choices. Their policies can shape nutrition education, child nutrition programs, and other food sales to support student health. The development of collaborative, positive nutrition policies are encouraged to facilitate communication among students, parents, and all members of the school community.
SHAPE California pioneers found that partnerships paid huge dividends. They "gave up" a little control but gained valuable ideas, input and support. All found a win-win attitude was their greatest asset. The main partners affecting students' ability to make healthy food choices include advisory groups, students, teachers, nurses, administrators, parents, and the community.
Promoting Nutrition Education
Children can develop healthy habits for life through school cafeteria and classroom programs. Actively engaging students in learning to make healthy food choices is the fastest way to teach new habits and build your program. Cafeteria practices and classroom lessons should reinforce each other. Updating teachers to facilitate their role in integrated nutrition education is a key.
Offering Healthy Meals in Child Nutrition Programs
Translating what we know about diet and health into useful information for child nutrition programs can be complicated. The SHAPE California approach is designed to give you the information and tools you need to shape healthy food choices for students. This includes translating the dietary guidelines into easy-to-remember SHAPE California nutrition goals; evaluating your current menus and doing a self-assessment; and implementing menu planning systems consistent with USDA's School Meals Initiative. Two other essential components are providing child nutrition staff development and marketing healthy food choices.
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