Every day children show up to school tired and hungry. I’m not talking about homeless or abused children. But kids from loving homes whose parents don’t understand the impact of nutrition and a good night’s sleep on a student’s ability to focus and learn. Good nutrition is a necessity of life. A healthy diet enables the body to work more efficiently, improves mental health, and makes learning possible. A person who does not eat well tends to be more sedentary, depressed, and uninterested in learning. Typically, schools are not only providing their students with good, healthy meals, but also offer various opportunities and tips for students and parents to learn more about healthy eating.
Thousands of students enrolled in Public Schools depend on free breakfast and lunch at school as their main source of nutrition. In the summer months, Public Schools students can continue to enjoy these meals at no charge. As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Seamless Summer Nutrition Program”, many schools campuses that are hosting summer school programs will offer anyone 18 years old and younger one breakfast and one lunch through Aug. 9, free of charge, regardless of ability to pay.
The “Seamless Summer Nutrition Program” is required by law in some states and schools where large numbers of students receive free meals during the school year, such as those who attend the San Antonio Schools in Texas. Participants are eligible regardless of whether they are enrolled in a summer program and no application is required.
How many children would have better focus if they ate a healthy breakfast, and stopped living on a sugar high? The mission of the Public Schools Food and Child Nutrition Services is to enhance the learning and health of children by nourishing their bodies and minds through healthy, nutritious meals that meet or exceed the Federal requirements set forth by the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. It’s about time that districts recognize that holistic health impacts learning.
The Public Schools nutrition department partners with the USDA in offering these tips for healthy eating:
1. Make half your grains whole
2. Vary your veggies
3. Focus on fruits
4. Get your calcium-rich foods
5. Go lean with protein
6. Change your oil
7. Don’t sugarcoat it
Public Schools are working hard to give their students good nutrition when they are on campus and good education about nutrition, healthy eating habits and exercise tips for when they are off campus.