Washington Schools Improving Nutrition through New Wellness Policy


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Schools in Wenatchee School District, Wa., will be seeing healthier meals in their lunch rooms and an improved effort to change the way food is used throughout the school day.

The District’s food service director, Kent Getzin, is focusing on encouraging students to try new foods, showing students where foods come from, and changing the way food is used in the school as reward or fund raising opportunities.

“It comes back to our philosophy about our kids being healthy, and eating well, and the impact that has on learning,” said Superintendent Brian Flones, in The Wenatchee World article , “Like any other life skill, kids need to learn early what’s going to be best for them. And if we’re not modeling it with what we do at school, they’re going to probably leave with a lot of bad habits,” he said.

This does not only apply to the changes being made in the cafeteria, as Getzin had the new Wellness Policy address issues with using junk-food as a reward in the classroom and as a fund raiser product. Getzin wants to change the way that food is perceived by students and wants them to feel open to changing their eating habits.

The schools no longer offer flavored milk, and beginning in September candy will no longer be used as reward in the classroom. They will also begin offering alternative ideas for parents who wish to bring in a treat for their student’s birthday and hope that fundraisers will begin involving physical activity instead of food.

See a list of some of the changes, happening at Wenatchee School District. These changes are gradual and are not without some challenges. Some examples include:

  • Flavored milk no longer served with lunch
  • Soda pop is not sold in vending machines at any elementary or middle schools
  • Food or beverages with minimal nutrition are prohibited during meals, and cannot be sold or served at school until 30 minutes after the last lunch period
  • Locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables are purchased and used in school meals
  • At least one-half cup of fruits or vegetables are served with every hot lunch, with up to 10 varieties offered so students will eat them
  • Almost all breads, crusts and even cookies are made with whole grains
  • More hot lunch dishes are made from scratch

“Nobody wants to be the food police,” Getzin said. “The question is, how can we get a grassroots move toward a culture of wellness at Wenatchee schools? I think we’ve written a pretty progressive policy.” Policies like these can help change the food culture at  schools, encouraging students to eat the healthy, balanced lunches instead of reaching for a la carte junk food and beverage items.

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