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    Food revolution schoole-book Food revolution schoole-book Document Transcript

    • student toolkit30 IDEAS FOR STARTING A FOOD REVOLUTION AT
    • Schools have a responsibility toteach health and nutrition.The wellbeing of children, both now and in thefuture, is affected by their diet and the maintenance of a healthyweight. Schools can reinforce healthful eating behaviours from ayoung age, both in and out of the cafeteria. But this opportunityis being missed, and the rise in obesity has been accompaniedby a decrease in the number of alternative food options availableat schools, a decline in the quality of food served and a lack offood education.While lots of schools around the world provide food education andgreat meals in the cafeteria, there are so many schools that need tochange drastically. We need to replace processed and junk foodwith fresh meals, cooked from scratch by properly trained cooksin well-equipped kitchens. We also need to bring food educationback into the classroom, so kids leave school armed with the skillsand knowledge to make the right food choices. Here are sometips for bringing about change in your local schools. 1
    • 1 Educate yourself Get the facts about childhood obesity and how diet-related diseases impact your country and your community. Learn the basics about school food in your local area, whether schools provide lunch or not and what regulations are in place. Remember every school is different, so you’ll have to do a little digging to find out what rules apply to schools in your country, state, city or district. 2 Find a core group of supporters Find allies among parents, staff and community members. Talk to your PTA and find out if there is already a Health and Wellness Committee or similar at your school. Have a think about people within the school who can help, and also approach outsiders such as local paediatricians, health experts and school nurses who can share their expertise and provide an independent voice. Meet with your group regularly to define your mission statement and core aims. 3 Get the facts on lunch in your local schools If you can, eat lunch at your school and find out for yourself what is on the lunch tray and what other food and drink is available during the day. Do an audit of the school food to help create a clear picture of what exactly is happening: what facilities there are, how long kids have to eat their lunch, what equipment the school has, and what training and skills staff have. 4 Find out who is in charge You’ll need the support of key people, so get in contact with them. They could be the head teacher or principal of the school, the person in charge of school meals, local politicians or even food suppliers. You’ll need to know who has the power to make the changes to your food, who is supplying the meals, what the contract situation is and who manages this contract. 5 Investigate the budget and constraints Find out about the budget constraints your school is facing so you can be realistic about the changes that are possible, and what you are up against in trying to make them. But before you believe everything you hear about limited financial resources for healthy school food, check out Kate Adamick’s book, Lunch Money: Serving Healthy School Food in a Sick Economy, available at Amazon.2
    • PHOTO BY BEN GIBBS 6 Love your lunch ladies Start with the people who can help make all this happen! Get in the kitchen and get to know your lunch ladies. They should be involved every step of the way, so let them know you are on their side and want to help. Talk with them about the current situation, how things can improve and discuss any problems that need to be overcome to get healthier, fresher food in the kitchen. 7 Get students on board Students can often be the most powerful advocates in making change, so let them know what is going on and why. see if you can create a student committee to form and campaign for change, they could also talk to other students to see what they do and don’t like and what they would want to change. It is the kids that will be eating the food, so it’s important to get their views and feedback. 8 Set goals and make a plan of actionable steps Set out a wish list and identify some achievable goals to work towards. Put each goal into actionable steps and include these goals in your school wellness policy, set up regular meetings with your group to discuss progress. You’ll find that long-term change is difficult but achievable — especially if you measure success incrementally, so start small and think about removing or limiting flavored milks or something similar to begin with. 3
    • 9 Meet with school officials and get them onside Wherever change starts, it will only be fully implemented with the support of the stakeholders. The parent/teacher association and health and wellness committee should approach your head teacher, food service director, council or district board, superintendent and present your case to them. Have facts and figures to hand, either from our resources or you own research, to show how things need to change and why. 10 Develop a health and wellness policy that fits all Once you have the support of the school and parents, you can start to work on a policy to improve food and food education. Most schools will already have some kind of policy in place, often known as a health and wellness policy. Find out what is in your school’s policy and work out what needs to change or improve. If your school doesn’t have policy, draw one up to include all the things you would like to see implemented. 11 Address suppliers Get them involved – your kitchen is going to need quality, fresh, ingredients. Use this as an opportunity to approach new suppliers and get competitive quotes. See if you can find a local farm or producer that can supply seasonal fresh produce that the supermarkets don’t want. There’s always someone out there looking for new business. 12 Keep spreading the message Keep people motivated by raising the issue whenever you can, it is important to get the support of the community and keep them involved. How you spread the message depends on who you are talking to. Write a school blog, start a letter- writing campaign, run surveys, send emails to parents, host meetings in community places and ask key guests to speak. Take a whole school approach, get everyone on board and broadcast why these food values are good for your school. 13 Raise money A major barrier to change will always be funding. Have a think about what you could raise money for; it could be equipment for a kitchen, wages for helpers, or ingredients for cooking classes. You’ll also need to work out the best way to do it. Work closely with the school administrators to make sure they are on board with fundraising efforts, and remember that small investments can help make a big change. Set yourself goals and let everyone know what you are fundraising for and where their money will go.4
    • 14 Taste testers Before you implement a new menu it’s really important to run taste testers for both students and parents. You can let them know what is in the food, what changes have been made and the nutritional benefits of new foods. You’ll also be able to gauge what goes down well and what doesn’t, so make sure you take in their feedback.15 Provide training for teachers Teachers will need information and training about the changes being made and why they are important, so that they can help support them and incorporate them in their lessons. Get some professionals in from time to time to help with this – whether health professionals, chefs or lunch ladies, all these people can come and help educate students and spread the word.16 Get food in the classroom Children should be learning about food in the classroom, not just when they eat. Find out about the current curriculum and see how you can integrate food education into this, whether it’s spelling ingredients in English classes, the basics of nutrition in science or the impact climate has on vegetable growth in geography. Teachers should also use assembly as time to talk about food education and the changes being made to the menu. 5
    • 17 Get cooking Studies show that when kids take cooking classes, the likelihood of them eating a greater variety and quantity of vegetables increases. It leads to more kids asking for different foods at home and increases the likelihood of them trying the new foods in the cafeteria. By teaching them how to cook you’ll also be setting them up with the skills needed to look after themselves for the rest of their lives. 18 Get smarter in the dining hall It takes time to change school menus, but there are things you can do in the meantime. Make the healthy foods look appealing and easy to access, push the less healthy foods to be back and ask food service staff to recommend the healthier options. Short meal periods also make it difficult to have a proper lunch, and can mean that more students end up having snacks from vending machines, so make sure access to dinner is easy and time efficient. 19 Lunchtime champions Having volunteers during lunchtime can help encourage students to try the different foods. Whether its lunch staff, teachers, parent volunteers or even other students acting as lunch room champions, they can encourage students to try new foods and explain why they are good and what is in them.6
    • 20 Serve fresh food Make fresh, raw ingredients the basis of school meals. Don’t cheat with processed sauces, precooked meat or dried mixes. Make a point of always knowing what is being served — how many ingredients do you recognise, and how many are adding nutritional value to the food? Real food cooked fresh doesn’t need additives, preservatives or anything artificial.21 Eat seasonal & local Not only is this a great way to support your local community and educate kids on seasonal foods, but fruit and veggies are usually cheaper and tastier when in season. Get your school to eat local as often as is possible, even if it is only once a semester, but serve seasonal foods all year round. You can also make a display of seasonal foods and implement seasonality into food education in the classroom so kids know what is in season when.22 Focus on mealtimes Assess what snacks and fast foods are available during the school day and how you can limit these. Make sure that every child gets a proper meal for lunch (and breakfast if you serve it), and time to sit down and enjoy it. Serve food to students on washable plates and with proper cutlery.23 Don’t supersize You need to make sure that you are giving kids suitably sized meals – not too big so that they overeat and not too small so that they are hungry. Part of a proper meal is ensuring that the quantity is right, so use age-based guidelines to ensure that portions aren’t too big or too small. Ensuring that portions aren’t too big can also help reduce waste.24 Serve water Having free water available through the school day is really important to help kids keep hydrated. Fresh water is the best thirst quencher, plus it’s cheap and doesn’t contain any additives or added sugar. Although water is not always a popular choice with kids, they’ll all be sure to drink it if it is available and advertised, and it’s much better than flavored milks filled with added sugar and artificial flavourings 7
    • 25 Grow something you can eat Lots of kids are so out of touch with where their food comes from that they don’t actually know whether it is artificial or grown. A pot of herbs and a tomato plant are enough to show kids how to make a salad and teach them the basics of mixing ingredients and flavours. It also gives them a way to touch, feel and interact with the food and understand where it comes from. If you can grow more and start a garden at school, even better! 26 Connect with your local farms Connect with your local farmers to see if they can supply fresh produce to your school. This way you can use your school programme to support your local community. See if you can also arrange field trips for students out to local farms or farmers markets and show them where their food really comes from. 27 Measure the impact It’s important to prove that any changes make a difference, and to find out what is working and what isn’t. You could measure the impact on student health, work out rates of obesity, absences and test scores, and compare them with before the changes came in. To get others involved and keep them up to date, post stories and pictures, blog about the changes and ask teachers to create school projects that ask students how their approach to food is changing. 28 Make it fun! Introduce some fun elements to get students involved. Thinking of initiatives that relate to students is really important, and different techniques will work for different age groups. For younger students, think about having a ‘Colours of the Rainbow’ day, where all the students have to make sure they have all the colours of the rainbow on their plate — but remember all food needs to be natural, no artificial additives allowed! 29 Tough love — don’t give up Remember that it takes time and patience to try something new and could take a few weeks or even months for changes to come into effect. It will be tough and you may face opposition, but just take it one step at a time, remind yourself of why you are doing this, that it is important and that you can make a difference to the health prospects of your kids.8
    • 30 Celebrate food! Teach kids that food and cooking is fun and just how much you can do with food. Celebrate holidays and events with great food, hold cooking classes for both kids and their parents, involve the whole community in your campaign and remember to celebrate successes. 9
    • Jamie Oliver Foundation | Registered charity Number 1094536 | © Jamie Oliver 2012