National School Lunch Week kicks off today and I’m so excited to be partnering with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RJWF) in a special campaign for the occasion. Together we’re encouraging parents to use this week (or the next few weeks) to arrange a “cafeteria date” with their child.
Why is it important to visit your child’s school cafeteria and share a meal together? There are lots of reasons:
- If it’s been a while since you last stopped by, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised at how much school meals have improved in recent years. Kids are now offered a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, lean proteins and less sodium, and studies show they’re eating more of these healthful foods than before the changes went into effect.
- A cafeteria visit is the perfect time to say “thank you!” to the hard-working men and women who put healthier meals on our children’s trays every school day. You can also show support for their efforts by asking them about any challenges they continue to face in implementing a healthy meal program – and how parents can help.
- Parent feedback, if constructively offered, can help a school nutrition program improve even more. Here are some suggestions for how parents can get involved from the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a joint initiative from RJWF and the Pew Charitable Trusts. You can check out this blog’s school food resources, too.
To get the most out of your cafeteria date, be sure to print out* the free tip sheet below from RJWF.
And after you’ve gone on your date, I hope you’ll take a moment in the next few weeks to share your photos and impressions with the rest of us. Tell us about your child’s favorite school meal, your school’s success in offering healthy lunches or any other thoughts from the day. You can share your photos:
- on Twitter using the hashtag #cafeteriadate;
- on The Lunch Tray’s Facebook page, again using the #cafeteriadate hashtag;
- in the comments section of this post (I installed a new feature that allows readers to upload photos); or
- via email at email@example.com
I can’t wait to hear how your date goes, and I’ll also offer a round-up of your stories and photos in a future Lunch Tray post.
Have fun out there! 🙂
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* To print out the tip sheet, just hover over the bottom of the illustration until the gray tool bar appears and click on the download icon. You’ll be taken to a new screen to download the file or print it out. (You may need to first authorize your browser to accept pop-ups from The Lunch Tray.)
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