Building a Healthier Food Culture

Where there is a will, there are many ways school nutrition professionals can take the lead in developing a healthier, responsible and sustainable food landscape in their communities.

Food. It is what drives your customers, the students you serve, to your cafeterias. It is what students see and smell as soon as they enter the service line and what keeps them coming back, day after day. It is the object of our work, from menu planning to the last tray served. How well does the food you serve reflect the values of your community? How well does the food you serve connect with your students’ ethnicity and cultural heritage? Does it reflect your regional food systems? And just as importantly, does it deliver pleasure, as well as nutrition?

Today, our students are more ethnically diverse than at any other point in school food history. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of 2020 more than half of school-age youth in the United States belong to an ethnic minority. But is this ethnic diversity reflected in school menus?

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