''While some students look down on food served in school cafeterias, Zoe Deakyne, a sixth-grader at Long Beach Island Elementary School, enjoys getting her lunch there.''More info
Unlike other states, Hawaii operates as a single school district statewide across all islands. During the 2007-08 school year, the Hawaii Department of Education began revamping its school nutrition program in order to meet the State of Hawaii Wellness Guidelines, which were required to be implemented over a four-year period.
Some of the Solutions
Hawaii Public Schools implemented numerous changes— from eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages and less healthy snacks in vending machines, to removing deep-fried foods from menus, and serving a 50/50 blend of white and brown rice. A la carte items that were sold separately from school meals were made available only to secondary students, and included healthy options such as juice, water, and fruit. The district also integrated more local produce into the menu—including soybeans, papaya, melons, and corn—and prepared bread items in-house with at least 50 percent whole wheat ingredients. In addition, the district began serving only nonfat milk.
Measures of Success
Hawaii schools have made considerable progress moving away from menus that largely featured processed foods to ones with more made-from-scratch recipes prepared in-house. When the initiative began in 2007, very few school meal menu options were prepared in-house; today 20 percent of entrees are. According to school nutrition administrators, increasing the volume of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and then using them in meals prepared from scratch has not resulted in significantly higher food costs. This is partly due to prudent menu planning and carefully negotiated vendor contracts. Labor costs are comparable to pre-implementation, and food costs have remained steady at about 30 percent of total meal cost.
Snacks and Beverages
One of the most significant challenges the district faced was the reduction of vending machine sales, which traditionally supported a variety of school activities. District officials report that a successful shift to healthier fundraisers, including Christmas tree sales and “farm-raiser” initiatives—in which students sell local farm produce—has allowed the district to maintain revenue.
The #1 Lesson Learned
Hawaii Public Schools has found success in tackling the issue in a comprehensive manner. They modified vending machine and fundraiser sales at the same time they updated school meal menus. To support the changes, the district found creative ways to engage students in learning about health and nutrition through cross-curricular lessons and activities.
Read more "School Food Success Stories" from school districts across the nation.
- Date added:
- Dec 19, 2012
"New items such as curried chicken with raisins and apples and broccoli alfredo are part of the City School District’s effort to upgrade its school meal offerings, focusing on foods that are fresh, local and healthy, rather than the old school method of quick and easy."More info
As we approach the beginning of summer, it is important to realize that students in the Fargo area aren’t just consuming knowledge in the classroom during the school year – they’re also consuming calories from school meals and snacks. In fact, many students consume up to half of their daily calories at school. As summer sets in and meals become less structured, it is important to instill healthy eating habits that the students can carry with them long after the final bell rings.More info
"Randolph County's school nutrition director will be honored in July in Kansas City, Mo. for her extraordinary commitment to the school meal programs."More info
"One year on, the Yolo County Department of Agriculture says it is happy with the results of its school lunch program, Farm to School Yolo."More info
"Make it a temporary rule, says Jessica Donze Black, director of the Pew Health Group's Kids' Safe & Healthful Foods Project, but just make it by June 30 and adjust it after schools have a chance to see how things work out."More info
The Boise School District announced that eleven schools within the district have been selected to receive grant money for fruit and vegetables from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).More info
"Imagine this: You are a 15 year-old standing in front of a school vending machine, getting ready to satisfy the snack craving you've had since first period. But lo and behold, instead of cookies and chips, every one of the slots behind the glass contains the same healthy stuff your mom and dad fill the cabinets with at home."More info
"All over the region, little pockets of activity are coalescing into a collaborative Food Revolution a la Jamie Oliver, the British chef who champions healthier food in schools and elsewhere. Last fall at the One Young World conference held here, he challenged Pittsburgh to revamp its eating habits -- and Pittsburgh's delegates took him seriously."More info
"With childhood obesity — and other health issues and nutrition requirements — increasing in schools, Williamsburg-James City County is focusing on providing nutritious meals to students."More info
"Representatives from National Food Group handed out samples of what could be on next year’s menu. Students sampled beef barbacoa with roasted vegetables, whole grain cheese ravioli with chunky marinara sauce and baked cod filet. Other items were cranberry oatmeal bars and breakfast items oatmeal chocolate vertical bars and berry apple crisp vertical bar."More info
Jessica Donze Black, director of the Pew Kids' Safe & Healthful Foods Project, speaks with Education Week about a bipartisan bill that would provide money for school kitchen upgrades.More info
Jessica Donze Black, project director for Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, is featured in Time magazine article about healthy school lunches.More info
"Recent changes to the federal school lunch program require more fresh fruits and vegetables to be served, but many schools in Iowa and across the country lack the fridge space needed to store large quantities of fresh produce, the Republican lawmaker said."More info