Access to a variety of nutritious and appealing meals that accommodate the health and nutrition needs of all students.
Being overweight, obese, and problems with eating disorders are increasing among young people. Diet is associated with the three leading causes of death among adults--cancer, heart disease, and stroke--and other adult health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and osteoporosis. Research shows that children who are not well-nourished or skip breakfast have lower test scores. School nutrition services, which are sometimes called "school food services," provide breakfasts and lunches, and snacks for afterschool programs. Offering attractive, nutritious, and affordable meals can help students develop healthy eating patterns that last a lifetime. These meals give students repeated opportunities to try healthy foods, including foods they may not have tasted before. For some children school meals may be the only balanced nutrition they receive. A well-developed school nutrition program provides an environment that encourages young people to choose healthful foods and shows them that healthy eating can be a pleasant experience. Offering students the opportunity to make healthier food choices in the cafeteria reinforces nutrition education provided by classroom teachers.
Recently, many schools have worked to improve the nutritional value of school vending machines or eliminate them all together. Soda has been replaced by water, low sugar juices and in some cases even flavored milk products. Candy has been replaced by healthier snack options. Improvements like these can do much to improve the health of students.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has numerous resources on nutrition.
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion - Healthy Youth
Dietary Guidelines for Americans is published jointly every 5 years by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Guidelines provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. You can download a copy of the full report, A Healthier You, at US Department of Health and Human Services or you will find information on how to order a copy. There are also excellent tools listed at the web site.
MyPyramid for Kids provides age-appropriate information about the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid Food Guidance System. MyPyramid for Kids encourages children, teachers, and parents to work together to make healthier food choices and be active every day.
www.MyPyramid.gov and www.MyPyramid.gov/kids
Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Services to support the Child Nutrition Programs. Here you will find information for foodservice, nutrition education and school and community support. USDA Food and Nutrition Service
This website will give you access to all government websites with reliable and accurate information on nutrition and dietary guidance.