Maybe you already know that the lunch served at school must meet dietary guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But what rules apply to foods your child might buy in an a la carte line, at concession stands, or the candy or can of soda your child may get for a prize for a perfect spelling test? Your school wellness policy can give parents answers to these and other important wellness issues.
The revised BCSC Wellness Policy contains five categories:
- Nutrition Education and Wellness Promotion
- USDA Child Nutrition Programs & School Meals
- Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages
- Physical activity and Physical Education
Evaluation of the Policy
Nutrition Education and Wellness Promotion-This section addresses nutrition education activities with the goal of helping children acquire lifelong skills for making nutritious food choices for a lifetime. Some of the key areas of this area of the policy include encouraging teachers and staff to serve as role models; display healthy choices prominently in the cafeteria and on menus, and wellness councils/PBIS to be developed at each school.
USDA Child Nutrition Programs & School Meals-This section addresses the federal breakfast and lunch program. Key areas of this portion of the policy include the school environment in the cafeteria, encourages recess before lunch, proper hand washing/sanitation stations available, student input on foods served, baking and steaming foods prepared. MyLunchMoney.com is a way for parents to register online to monitor your child’s spending habits in the cafeteria line, view account balances, receive low balance notices and view meal purchases all for FREE! A user charge is only applied for those parents who choose to use their credit or debit cards to make lunch account pre-payments.
Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages-This section addresses all foods in competition with the federal lunch program. Examples might include vending, a la carte, classroom parties, fund raising. 50% of items serve should meet Better choice Food Criteria for 35% or less total calories from fat; no more than 10gm saturated fat not more than 35% total wt from sugar and individual items will not have more than 300 calories per serving. Fundraising will strive to support healthy eating and wellness. Classroom celebrations should focus on activities rather than food. Not offering sugar sweetened beverages or candy as a classroom reward.
Physical activity and Physical Education-The following are key considerations from this section of the policy: Joint use agreement means that community is allowed to use the school facilities when they are not being used for school activities, Safe routes to school promotes waling and biking to school for physical activity, standards are outlined for physical activity and Physical Education.
Evaluation-This section addresses implementation of the policy and plans for revision.
BCSC revised the original wellness policy developed in 2006 after having the policy scored by public health professionals using The School Wellness Policy Evaluation Tool. This tool offers a consistent and reliable means of assessing the comprehensiveness and strength of school wellness policies. Our newly adopted policy scored 174, the highest in Indiana! But it is not about having a policy in place, it is about putting it into practice and that takes a team effort from staff, students, parents and the community.
Developing a sound local wellness policy allows BCSC to get ahead of the curve and take a proactive approach to promoting good health to children. Parents can support the efforts of the policy by encouraging healthy eating and daily physical activity and serving as role models for their children to teach and encourage healthy habits for life.