With a major movement toward healthier eating sweeping the nation, the public schools are now more in the game than ever before. Healthy food options, dietician assistance, and support for food allergies are just some of the available nutritional resources in the Columbia Public Schools and many public schools around the nation. As parents get more concerned about what their children are eating, so are the schools. The purpose is to not only educate children while providing healthier food options at school but also to provide education to the entire family to change the way they eat at home as well.
The Missouri Eat Smart Program offers food choices that are considered advanced by the USDA regulations; more raw, whole grain, and low fat options are offered on a weekly basis by each school then is required by USDA regulations. The focus is on a five component meal consisting of vegetables, fruits, meat/meat alternate, grains, and milk. The Columbia Public schools website, offers detailed information about the offerings of the schools and the nutritional content of the foods. Parents may schedule appointments with dieticians in order to receive assistance with tailoring items to fit the dietary needs of their children. If a child has a food allergy, alternative choices will be offered to them.
Classes are also available to provide nutritional education to parents and children to facilitate making healthier food choices at school as well as in the home. This allows for the entire family to be involved in developing a healthier lifestyle. Many studies have shown that when the family makes a group effort to live a healthier lifestyle, the results are better than if an individual tries to make changes on their own.
The school system is trying to be part of the healthier lifestyle by providing healthier choices and helping children and parents get more excited about healthy eating. It is as important for children to learn about healthy food choices at a young age as it is for parents to make a conscious effort to bring healthier foods into the home. By getting the parents involved, the schools are improving the chances of children developing and sustaining a healthier lifestyle. This is just one giant step in the right direction of creating more active and healthy children.
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