Schools are an important environment for modeling and supporting healthy eating. School-age children consume a substantial portion of their daily food needs within the school and afterschool setting. Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development, aiding in the prevention of obesity and other chronic health conditions. Providing youth with adequate and nutritious food supports cognitive development and reduced absenteeism. View more information on the link between healthy students and learning.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has a primary focus on improving the school food environment. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) child nutrition programs are focused on increasing access to healthy, high-quality foods while also addressing food insecurity. View more information on Child Nutrition Programs, including school breakfast, school lunch, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Milk Programs, Smart Snacks, Farm to School, Summer Food Service, and Afterschool Snack Programs.
Having policies that support the eating environment is an important component of schools’ efforts to build a healthy school community. At the Minnesota Department of Education, school wellness policy development is supported by staff from Food and Nutrition Services. View more information on local school wellness policies.
Providing nutrition education is another critical component to the schools’ overall nutrition environment. Nutrition education can happen in the classroom, cafeteria, and afterschool activities. It allows students to engage in activities that help them learn about how their food is grown, how it supports healthy growth and development, and how to have lifelong healthy eating habits.
Curriculum for Nutrition Education:
Health Powered Kids - Resources on a Variety of Health Topics, Including Nutrition Education (Allina Health)
Eat Right - Resources from Birth through Grade School on Nutrition (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)