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Help Improve Nutrition in Your School or Community

Now that it’s back-to-school time, a lot of moms are focusing even more on the health of their children.  I know my two teens are much better prepared to take on the day’s challenges when they’re eating well-balanced meals.  Traditionally there were limited options moms had that could positively impact the kind of nutrition their kids received.  I know for me it consisted of packing them healthy lunches, which included fruits and/or vegetables during the school year.  Well, I’ve got some good news–this year we’ve got a few additional ways to get involved in making sure our kids get the nutrition they need.

To begin, the Fruits & Veggies–More Matters web site has resources to help you get better nutrition in your child’s school as part of its More Matters Pledge.  Select the My-School Pledge option and you’ll find help to get a salad bar put in your school cafeteria, have a fruit and veggie vending machine installed in your school or learn more about the Pack Assorted Colors for Kids (P.A.C.K.) program.  P.A.C.K. is designed to help children learn more about fruits and vegetables.  The My-School Pledge also has valuable information and links to what’s already going on in schools to support better nutrition.

Another way you can help is through the USDA partner program.  Since the launch of the new food icon showing half the plate filled with fruits and vegetables, the USDA has been looking for partners to help promote these new guidelines.  Their Community Partners level is ideal for schools, dietitians and educators.  It allows partners to commit to any level of involvement such as developing an outreach program or adding the link to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 to their web site.  If you’re involved in your child’s PTA, it might be worth exploring at your next meeting.

Be sure to keep your eyes on the latest updates from the Let’s Move initiative.  The First Lady’s fight against childhood obesity is frequently coming up with new programs and one might be ideal for your community. 

Finally, if your child is participating in a sport or club that requires fundraising, why not try going the healthy route this year?  The Stemilt Fresh Fruit Fundraising program allows your child to sell fresh apples or pears, grown in Washington state, instead of candy.  Plus, 33% of each gift pack goes back to the child in order to better support his or her activity.  I know I’d be much more likely to buy fresh fruit to support an activity than a huge bar of candy!

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