The interventions showing the most promise [in reducing childhood obesity] are: Curricula that include healthy eating, physical activity, and body image; School sessions for physical activity throughout the week; Improvements in nutritional quality of school food; Environments that support healthier eating and physical activity; Support for teachers and other staff to implement health promotion strategies and activities; Parent support and home activities that encourage children to be more active, and eat more nutritious foods. -Marion Nestle, 2011
1. Understand the system
We have created a chart to help demystify the NYC Department of Education's Office of SchoolFood. This office oversees over 1200 school buildings and is comprise of 11 departments. The Office of SchoolFood is dedicated to feeding students and their staff are available to help you meet the needs of your school and your children. Lastly, make sure you understand what the federal regulations are for school lunch.
2. Eat with your kid(s)
You may be pleasantly surprised, or at the very least, you will have a better understanding of the eating and nutrition goals you should set for your child(ren). Review the menu at your child(ren)'s school regularly; it should be posted in every cafeteria.
3. Join or form a Wellness Committee and create a Wellness Policy
Align with your Wellness Committee and work together to achieve your goals. Check out The New York City Department of Education's Wellness Policies on Physical Activity and Nutrition for inspiration. Check out the USDA's list of sample Wellness Policies online.
4. Work collaboratively to develop goals for your school lunch program
It takes active participation from your school, parents, volunteers, and SchoolFood to make a great lunch program. Start with your principal as they are often the one who must facilitate meetings and serve as a liaison. Check out WITS' Cook for Kids goals and our sample starting points for a healthier school food experience.
5. Meet regularly with your SchoolFood Manager to discuss successes, concerns, and implementation plans
Your SchoolFood Manager is responsible for ordering food and is integral to creating and developing a collaborative relationship between parents, the Wellness Committee, school staff, and SchoolFood. You can get your SchoolFood Manager's information (and the information of their Supervisor if needed) from your principal. If after reaching out to the Manager and Supervisor you are still unable to get a response, ask to speak to the Regional Director:
Mitchell Derek: (Brooklyn Districts 1, 13, 14, 16,19, 23, & 32)
Vita Tammaro: (Brooklyn & Staten Island Districts 17,18, 20, 2, 22, & 31)
Cherise Tafe: (Bronx Districts 7, 8, 9, 11, & 12)
Josefina Magsino: (Queens Districts 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, & 39)