See how many best practices are already in use.
Here are some – but not all – of the documented best practices for nutrition and physical activity in schools. How many are embedded in your school’s culture?
• Does your school offer both breakfast and lunch service that is accessible to all students?
• Do children have at least 10 minutes to eat school breakfast and at least 20 minutes for school lunch?
• Does your school participate in any Farm to School activities?
• Does your school offer at least two kinds of fruit at each meal?
• Does your school offer at least two kinds of vegetables at each meal?
• Does your school display fruits in attractive bowls or baskets, instead of stainless steel pans?
• Does your school offer fruit in more than one location in the food service lines?
• Does your school offer vegetables in every service line?
• Does your school offer both hot and cold vegetables at the same meal?
• Does your school provide dip when serving raw, cut vegetables?
• Does your school allow students to taste test new fruits and vegetables at least once a year?
• Does your school identify a featured fruit- and vegetable-of-the-day that is labeled with a creative, descriptive name?
• Does your school provide a self-serve “flavor station” where students can add herbs and spices of their choosing to vegetables?
• Does your school cafeteria have a salad bar?
• Does your elementary school provide at least 20 minutes of recess daily?
• Do teachers or recess monitors encourage students to be active at recess?
• Does your school prohibit withholding recess and/or assigning physical activity as a punishment?
• When in physical education (P.E.) class, are students moderately to vigorously active for at least 50% of the class period?
• Does your school provide educational materials to families about healthy eating and physical activity?
• Does your school have a Safe Routes to School program?
Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t check off as many items as you would have liked. Many schools are just getting started on their wellness policies.
If you’re a school administrator or employee, Jump IN for Healthy Kids can connect you to resources to address the items you’d like—or even to assess more thoroughly which goals may be most attainable given where you are now. Contact us to learn more.
If you are a parent, keep in mind that these aren’t the only best practices—your child’s school may be focusing on other health-related initiatives. Still, consider sharing the checklist above with your school’s wellness committee to advocate for additional changes.
If you aren’t sure how to get in touch with the wellness committee, ask a teacher, administrator, or representative from the parent organization to assist you. Volunteer to participate on the committee to support the changes that are important to you.
Why does it matter?
Healthy schools experience higher attendance rates, greater academic success, increased family engagement, and reduced staff turnover. Check out our guide to learn how: Healthy Students Achieve More.
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