Wellness Beyond the Lunchroom: How to Advocate for Wellness within the Whole School Environment

Healthy Food Choices in Schools December 23, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

healthy eating classProviding delicious and nutritious foods in the lunchroom is a huge step in creating a healthy environment for students. Maintaining healthy behaviors in other food settings, such as classroom snacks and even afterschool and home meals, is equally important to creating lasting healthy habits. How do you get the rest of your school community involved and excited about nutrition and wellness?  Be your school’s advocate for wellness by reaching out to students and parents! 

To effectively reach members of your school community:

  • Use your resources.  Consider the many ways you can reach students and parents to promote wellness in the school environment, such as the school website and  newspaper, announcements, social media, flyers and brochures, and email.  Teachers and other staff members can incorporate wellness education and healthful messages into lessons in the classroom.  
  • Gain support.  Deliver your message to the whole school community. The more people you get involved and talking about nutrition and wellness, the better.  Staff, students, and clubs can help you advocate!  Ask to speak to stakeholder groups during their regular meetings, such as monthly meetings of the PTA/PTO, school staff, student council, or Board of Education.
  • Educate parents.  Teaching parents about nutrition and wellness can help them implement healthy changes in their home to share with their children.  Parents who model healthy behavior for kids can supplement and reinforce lessons learned in school.  Ask to speak at a Parents’ Night, Back-to-School-Night, PTA/PTO meeting, parent-school meet-and-greet, or other parent-centered school event.
  • Be good role models.  Educate the school and lunchroom staff on wellness and nutrition so they can adopt these healthy changes themselves.  By acting as a good example, teachers and other school staff members can point students in the healthy direction!

Contributors

Tisa Hill and Keira McKinney, Cornell University Division of Nutritional Sciences

Sources

CHANCE. Cornell University Division of Nutritional Sciences.

Wechsler H, Devereaux AB, Davis M, Collins J.  Use of the school environment to promote physical activity and healthy eating.  2000.  Preventative Medicine. 31(s121-s137).


 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.