What are we up to?
Welcome to the Sea Cliff School Nutrition Committee! We’re working to try to improve our school’s lunch.
Our belief is that a lunch menu that includes minimally processed, whole foods (without added artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or excess sugar and sodium) is in the best interest of our children. The changes we envision would result in a menu with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and lean sources of protein. And although budget constraints are a reality, we want to work on ways to introduce more locally produced and organic ingredients. Further, we’d like to address the issue of snacks offered in the cafeteria — in terms of quality as well as necessity. We are also interested in improving the nutrition education opportunities available at the school and finding ways to help kids make healthy choices both in and outside of school.
Our current goals include:
- Healthier snacks (a la carte items) available at lunch including fresh, whole fruits and vegetables
- More fresh fruits and vegetables at lunch
- More whole grains at lunch
- Leaner sources of protein
- Low and non-fat dairy products
- Limited added sugar, salt, artificial ingredients and processing
- A wider variety of foods at lunch
- A better Wellness Policy for the district
Our long range goals include:
- Increasing participation in the school lunch and overall consumption of fresh, whole foods including specifically whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Creating a warmer, more inviting environment in the cafeteria
- Working with others in the district to create a greenhouse to provide fresh, local food and nutrition education for our schools
- Looking at other ways to improve our children’s knowledge of nutrition
- Increasing access to local and organic fruits and vegetables
- Providing breakfast at school
- Increasing the time available for lunch and having lunch follow recess for all students
- Finding ways to provide fresh frutis and vegetables at snack time
We believe an important step in reaching these goals is creating a robust Wellness Policy for the district. Federal regulations require a wellness policy which covers nutrition, nutrition education and physical activity.
The only statement our policy makes about the nutritional aspects of lunch is to state, “Food providers will offer fruits and vegetables and support the use of whole grains in school meals. Only low fat (1%) and fat free milk shall be served. No candy or soda shall be sold in the school district during the school day.” Fruits and vegetables do not have to be fresh or be varied and the support for whole grains is weak. There are no meaningful restrictions on sodium, high fructose corn syrup or other sugars, or other additives. The policy does not address nutrition education However, the policy does indicate that food services have to be “budget-neutral.”
Read our wellness policy here.
Similar neighboring districts have used their wellness policies very differently. For example, Cold Spring Harbor has taken a strong stand on nutrition in their policy which can be read here: http://www.myschoolpages.com/schools/cshsd/files/filesystem/NutritionRegulations9-2008.pdf
A model school wellness policy has been developed by the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, a group sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. You can read it at: http://www.schoolwellnesspolicies.org/WellnessPolicies.html
Likewise, Port Washington has managed to incorporate more fresh and organic ingredients in their meals but charges less for them. To see their menu, click here:
Our school’s menu is posted here:
Nutritional information for the food being served is posted here under Nutritional Information. We use a high proportion of highly processed foods with artificial ingredients, few fresh fruits or vegetables and the meals average just under an astounding 1200 mg of sodium. See all labels here:
Want to Learn More about How Other Schools Have Changed Their Lunches for the Better?
These websites are a great place to start:
Two Angry Moms (with clips from their movie)
New York Coalition for Healthy School Food
Better School Food
Chef Ann Cooper – The Renegade Lunch Lady
Lunch Matters – the Chez Panisse Foundation site chronicles how the Berkeley School District’s lunch has been transformed:
The Edible Schoolyard connects gardens and nutrition education with lunch reform:
The Obama Administration wants to put another $1 billion into the school lunch program and Michelle Obama has kicked off a new initiative targeting childhood obesity and ways to improve the school lunch. Visit http://www.letsmove.gov/schools/index.html
Check out these movies about the food industry in general (available through the Sea Cliff Village Library – some they have, the rest you can get through the intra-library loan)
· Food, Inc.
· Fast Food Nation
· The Future of Food
· King Corn
· The Real Dirt on Farmer John
Cinema Arts Huntington and Slow Food Huntington are presenting a series of films on food. Get more details at http://www.cinemaartscentre.org.
Or these books (available through the Sea Cliff Village Library – some they have, the rest you can get through the intra-library loan)
· Food, Inc.
· Fast Food Nation
· All those books by Michael Pollan….start with In Defense of Food
· Food Politics
Reserve online through www.seaclifflibrary.org.
Want to Do Even More?
Come to the Sea Cliff Nutrition committee meetings! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve got lots to do and need your help!
Attend the district nutrition meetings – see dates here:
It’s time to call or write our representatives in Congress! The Child Nutrition Act which covers funding and nutritional requirements for the school lunch program is up for renewal. We all need to write our representatives about the changes we need.
Visit our blog at www.scsfood.blogspot.com and search Nutrition Act for the latest action alerts and instructions on contacting Congress.
What Have We Accomplished So Far?
All new lunch menus this fall with more minimally processed and fresh foods!
We have an ongoing project of scanning and posting nutrition labels on the district website for all items.
The Healthy Bake sale at the Jamboree was a big success – you can find our recipes at www.scsfood.blogspot.com – AND we raised $140 to improve nutrition education at our school. We’ll keep you posted!
With Ms. Krupin, we provided information for a social action project to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act and helping bring some healthy eating ideas to kindergarteners.
We have a representative on the district Wellness Committee and hope to improve the school’s wellness policy.
We helped designed and launch the district-wide nutrition survey. To see the complete results, click here: http://www.northshore.k12.ny.us/Foodserviceinfo/2010Results/DOC.PDF
We’ll be reporting soon on how Sea Cliff responded.
We held a very successful hands on healthy cooking demonstration and movie screening for families. Recipes and pictures on the blog!
Thanks to Dr. Melnick, we're expecting organic fruit trees soon!
District Nutrition Committee Updates
All district nutrition committee meeting minutes are available at: http://www.northshore.k12.ny.us/Foodserviceinfo/foodserviceinfo.htm
(You may need to scroll down.)