Nutrition refers to everything that your child eats and drinks. Your child’s body uses nutrients from food to function properly and stay healthy. Nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats. In the right amounts, nutrients give your child energy to grow, learn, and be active.
Calories are the amount of energy in the foods and drinks your child consumes. Children need a certain amount of calories to grow and develop. But if your child takes in more calories than his or her body needs, the extra calories will be stored as body fat
School lunches are designed to provide healthy food options for children. For a healthy start for the day, our school also offers a breakfast program.
The program promotes nutrition standards for school lunches that include the following:
- Offer fruits and vegetables every day
- Increase whole-grain food options
- Offer only fat-free or low-fat milk options
- Serve appropriately sized portions that meet students’ calorie requirements
- Reduce saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium
Planning your meals and snacks to include the following tips for eating well.
- Eat plenty of fruit - To get the benefit of the natural fiber in fruits, you should eat whole fruit rather than drink juices.
- Eat plenty of vegetables - Eat a variety of colors and types of vegetables every day.
- Eat plenty of whole grains - At least half of the cereals, breads, crackers, and pastas you eat should be whole grains.
- Choose low fat or fat free milk - These provide calcium and vitamin D to help keep your bones strong.
Oregon is one of the nation’s healthiest states when it comes to childhood obesity. Currently, 26.4 percent of children ages 10-17 in Oregon are considered overweight or obese. While this is better than all but a handful of states, it is still too high for the children of Oregon. To address the issue, more than 340 schools have joined the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program and are taking advantage of tools and resources available at no cost to help schools create a wellness council, start staff wellness programs, offer healthier foods and more physical activities.
The Healthy Schools Program recognizes that all schools are unique and there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to school health. As part of the Healthy Schools Program, every school creates an action plan that will work for their community. Many schools in Oregon have decided to work on employee wellness and 75 percent of participating schools have made improvements in this area.
In recognition of their efforts, many National Healthy Schools Awards have been presented to Oregon schools. In 2014, St. Paul Elementary was the only Oregon school that received the National Healthy School Bronze Award. Each recognized school has distinguished itself with healthy eating and physical activity programs and policies that meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program. These programs and policies include:
- Physical Fitness Education
- Health Education
- Teacher/Parent/Staff Fitness Friday Challenges
- Employee Wellness after school activities
- National School Lunch Program