Last year, the first International School Meals Day was held on March 8. It was a great success and brought teachers and students in both the United States and United Kingdom together to connect on one of the most critical issues facing the world today – child nutrition. This year, International School Meals Day will be held on March 6 and we’re looking for even more schools to participate.
The fact is that good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are as important to a child’s overall success as the curriculum that our schools teach every day. Schools are essential to early nutrition education and helping young children build healthy habits that last a lifetime. That’s why I’m so proud that the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act set the wheels in motion for us to raise the standards for school meals in the U.S. This year’s theme for International School Meals Day is “Food Stories” which is a great topic to get kids talking about their favorite nutritious foods they enjoy at school and at home.
Participation in International School Meals Day can be as simple or as inventive as you’d like. There are many options to consider. You can host seminars, workshops or other events related to healthy eating, plan an International Menu Day, host food tasting sessions or visit a farm where students can see first-hand where and how food is grown and harvested.
I encourage schools to use technology to make the day even more special. Platforms such as Skype can be used to connect with schools around the world to share ideas and thoughts about school menus and healthy eating. Having students connect via video to children beyond their classroom walls isn’t just an advantage for a fun nutrition conversation but can also foster a greater sense of global citizenship.
International School Meals Day coincides with National School Breakfast Week and also with the UK’s World Book Day. This might be a great impetus for students to share some breakfast recipes from their favorite cookbooks. Some schools may even want to shape the Day around ideas to get more kids eating breakfast at school or at home.
Remember, there is no set format to celebrate. The goal is to work together to create a day that is fun for all, that promotes nutrition as an important staple of the education calendar throughout the year, and that inspires healthy eating among school age children.