Welcome to Food and Nutrition
Polly Podpeskar, the school district's Registered Dietitian says, "There is a link between proper nutrition, health and learning. Students are more productive when they make good food choices."
Students need a nutritious breakfast. The school breakfast program offers all children, regardless of income, a critical jump start at the beginning of each day. Students have access to an entree, a variety of fruits, juice and milk in the school cafeteria. Eating right before engaging in the learning process will help students perform better in class.
Nutritious lunches are available. Students are hungry by noon and need healthy food items to enhance their intellectual development. Each school day a variety of food items are available to appeal to students including: Hot Entrees, Chef salads, sandwich wraps, sub sandwiches, soup, vegetables, fruits, bread and milk and dessert items. Students can make their own selections and build a colorful, nutritious meal. This is a time to practice nutrition education they have learned in the classroom and at home. It is also a time to relax and socialize.
Students develop food habits that last through their adult years. Talk to your children about the variety of items available to them in the cafeteria and about what they select to eat. Encourage them to try new entrees, add more fruits and vegetables and try whole grain bread and low fat milk.
Snack items are available. Talk to your children about snack foods. They are not meant to be eaten as an entire meal. Snacks are available to enjoy occasionally in addition to a well-rounded lunch.
Students can bring lunches from home. It is equally important to pack well balanced meals from home, introduce whole grain bread and include a variety of fruits, vegetables and a nutritious beverage. When selecting juice, read the label to make sure it is 100% fruit juice and not just 10%. Use snack food sparingly. Keep in mind that bacteria grows rapidly on warm moist food items. To avoid food borne illness always pack lunches from home in an insulated reusable bag with an ice pack to keep the sandwich, milk and other food items below 40 degrees.
It is never too late to begin making nutritious food choices and it certainly is never too early.
Polly A. Podpeskar, R.D., L.D., directs the Student Nutrition Services Program. She is a Registered Licensed Dietitian. Polly is highly committed to her profession.