Celebrating Healthy Schools & Rainbow Eats

healthy schools
healthy schools
 I had a blast launching the 2013-2014 school calendar year with a whole host of kid/family cooking activities this past fall.  I’m equally excited to get back on the road & visit communities now that the holidays have passed and I love learning about all of the healthy schools and what they are doing to make a difference in the lives of their students.
 
As I venture into the deep freeze of winter, I am thawing out by simply thinking of warmer weather,  spring & rainbows.  Until the spring actually does roll around with nature’s beauty, it’s time to focus on all of the great things that schools do & this week I am featuring Schuylerville Elementary who hosts a Rainbow Food Week every year.  Here’s more about their awesome program;
 
1.  What is Rainbow Food Week?
Rainbow Food Week is a week-long event that takes place during lunch periods.  New foods are added to the lunch menu each day for the students to try.   This past spring we offered fresh fruit salad, sweet potato puffs, stir fry veggies, veggie sticks with humus, kale chips, brainy brownies, grilled asparagus and broccoli salad.  The foods are put on the trays for the children who buy lunch at school and we offer samples for the children who bring their own lunch.
 
2.  How did the concept develop?
It started as a creative way to get kids to try some fruits and veggies that maybe they never had before.  The hope was that they would then go home and talk about it and maybe start eating the foods at home as well.
  
3.  How long have you been hosting the Rainbow Food Week for students?
It was started around 2006.
 
4.  How many volunteers does it take to coordinate the program?  
The program is a PEP event (PEP is the Schuylerville PTO).  A chairperson coordinates all the planning.  First, the menu items are discussed with the Food Services Manager.  Food Services orders most of the items through the school vendors.  PEP brings in the fresh fruit.  Costs are split and PEP reimburses the school for a portion of the costs.  We try to have at least 4 parents volunteer for each day during the lunch periods.  Last spring, we were fortunate to have middle school students assist in passing around samples and surveying students about how they liked the new foods.  On days with heavy prep foods (fresh fruit, fresh veggies), we have extra volunteers to work in the kitchen before lunch to cut up the foods.  The cafeteria staff would not be able to accomplish those extra tasks on their own.This year we also partnered with Cooperative Extension.  They have a program called “5-2-1-0”  
It stands for:
5 – fruits and vegetables a day
2- Two hours or less of electronics a day
1- One or more hours of exercise a day
0- Zero sugary drinks a day
They provided us with posters and stickers for the 5-2-1-0 program and we promoted the healthy living messages.
 
5.  What are the various activities that make up the Rainbow Food Week?

  • Serving the new foods
  • Surveying the students about the food
  • Pass out stickers for “I’ve been Caught Being Healthy” (Part of the 5-2-1-0 Program)
  • Students fill out slips to guess what 5-2-1-0 stands for
  • Winners are drawn at the end of the week to receive prizes (one winner per grade)
  • Prizes were water bottles (to promote hydration), t-shirts (to promote exercise) and Barnes & Noble gift certificates (to promote reading)
 
6.  Have you seen an impact?  If so, explain…
Yes, we see kids trying new foods every year.  Surprisingly, many of the students loved the kale chips.  The food services manager even added it to the menu after Rainbow Food Week.  The students are used to having this event and most look forward to trying new recipes.

This post featured at: The Meandering Monday Blog Hop 

PupilBenefits_logo_LG_color

 

Disclosure: I am pleased to be working with Pupil Benefits who has sponsored the post and encourages the development and growth of Healthy Schools. 

 
 
[googleplusauthor]
 

17 Comments on “Celebrating Healthy Schools & Rainbow Eats”

  1. This is just an absolutely fabulous idea. I wish more schools would do it. We’re lucky in our small KS town where they serve very healthy lunches always with 2 or 3 veggie/fruit options. My kiddo is egg-allergic so I pack his lunch, but if he did start eating there I would feel good about it. The more atmospheres kids are encouraged to try new and healthy things, the better. Stopping by from Family Fun Friday!

    1. THANK you for stopping by. My cousin was allergic to eggs & it was always tricky, so I completely understand why you make his lunch. Unfortunately so many school lunches are still not that healthy…I am hoping more changes :)!!! You are lucky that your school offers a lot of healthy choices….

  2. I had never heard of Rainbow Food Week but I think it is so important for all kids to eat a balanced diet. I love it! What a clever idea! And, thank you for stopping by Shine a Spotlight Saturday and sharing! See you next Saturday! —Deb at DialMforMoms.com

    1. Each school offers something unique to their students & it’s so exciting to learn about what they are doing individually & then to share it…

    1. There are so many schools doing great things, I’m lucky to have the opportunity to learn about each one & to see what they are doing & then to share their stories…

  3. I’m with Alicia, think I could do with that on our fridge as a reminder for when slackness kicks in!!

  4. This is great! As a former public school teacher I could not believe some of the lunches that were served.

    1. I’m still amazed at how many schools haven’t made better changes, but I love the ones that are :)!

  5. What a great idea! Love the rainbow concept and pairing it with the 5-2-1-0 program is wonderful. Takes a lot planning and preparation to do something like this, I am sure, but so rewarding with long lasting results and life changing potential!

  6. Pingback: Meandering Monday Blog Hop & Linky Party! | Vashti Quiroz-Vega's Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *