Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Soapbox: Should Our School Have a Robust Food Policy?
This is a picture from one of the picnics our school held at the end of last year. At Sea Cliff, we don't have a robust policy regarding food in the classroom, food as a reward or guidelines for snacks. We do have culmination parties at 9am with cookies, cupcakes, candy and juice. We do have kids who only have candy to eat at snack time. Regardless of one's position on any of these issues, we should have a discussion about food and school and now is the time.
Yesterday, our kids had their first taste of the revised and much more nutritious lunch menus and healthier a la carte snacks will be unveiled today. I think the new lunch says a lot about what kids ought to be eating, and we should look to be consistent throughout the school. There are schools which provide fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks, for example.
Federal law requires districts to have "Wellness Policies" and you can read ours here. It's not a very strong statement. Cold Spring Harbor has a much more robust policy which you can read here. Or, read the model policy created by the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity.
I believe Glenwood Landing in our district has their own building food policy. Our student handbook posted online addresses snacks but I feel the policy is largely overlooked and doesn't cover anything beyond snacks.
What our kids eat affects how they perform in school. What they experience and what they are taught about nutrition as young children has a lifelong impact, so let's just start talking about what that should look like.