Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Celebrate National School Lunch Week Through Nationwide School Nutrition Programs
As part of National School Lunch Week, October 13 to 19, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates the hard work and dedication of registered dietitian nutritionists who lead school lunch programs across the country to provide nutrition education and healthful meals to children.
“The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics believes that comprehensive, integrated nutrition services in schools are an essential component of coordinated school health programs and will improve children’s the nutritional status, health and academic performance,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Sonja Connor.
“Some of the greatest resources we have to achieve this are the thousands of registered dietitian nutritionists who work in school meal and nutrition education programs. Their tireless dedication helps students not only eat healthier meals, but also better understand how to live a healthy lifestyle both in and out of school,” Connor said.
The Academy’s School Nutrition Services dietetic practice group has more than 1,200 members, working in school districts, federal and state agencies, business and industry, and colleges and universities, all dedicated to the integrity and promotion of school meal programs and the advancement of sound nutrition for children.
With the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, SNS members make sure students are exposed to and can learn about nutritious foods served as part of school meal programs. For example:
“We have a farm-to-school approach to nutrition education that links the classroom, dining center and school garden. A featured food of the month and locally procured items are highlighted on the menu, and schools can grow and harvest produce for the dining center. Classroom teachers are also integrating nutrition education into Common Core.” – Tarrah DeClemente, MPH, RDN, LDN, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, Ill.
“With the Pick a Better Snack program in Iowa, students are very willing to try new foods when presented in a fun learning environment. When kids learn about the foods they are trying, play games and see their classmates trying the fresh fruit and vegetable snacks, students usually do try the snack, and most often times like them.” – Abbie Scott, RD, LD, Jackson Elementary and Howe Elementary, Des Moines, Iowa.
“We collaborate with a local nonprofit to provide taste tests in elementary school cafeterias, as well in the classroom of two elementary schools in our county. The classroom nutrition education is part of the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program that provides funding for fresh produce as well as lesson plans.” – Mary Andreae MS, RD, LDN, Buncombe County Schools, Ashville NC
“These examples represent just a few of the thousands of amazing registered dietitian nutritionists whose goal is providing a healthful future for children,” Connor said.
The Academy supports the work of child nutrition specialists through public policy efforts, the Academy Foundation’s Kids Eat Right, program and numerous online resources focused on healthful eating at school.