By Heidi A. Funkhouser 2016-04-05 06:44:52
A picture is worth a thousand words!” This certainly rings true for National School Lunch Week 2015, which showed students, parents and the media what school lunch really looks like. When it comes to changing the perception of school food, what better way than to show the world enticing lunch trays held by happy children, eager to eat the colorful array of healthful fruits and vegetables, along with menu items featuring energizing protein, nutritious whole grains and filling lowfat dairy? School meal operators did just that during October 2015’s National School Lunch Week (NSLW)! During this annual celebration, cafeteria teams nationwide took advantage of the week’s theme, “School Lunch Snapshot,” to showcase photos of the healthy meals they serve every day. By sharing those images with students, parents, stakeholders and the media (particularly through social media!), SNA members educated their communities about the perks and importance of school lunch program, and, in many cases, increased participation among students. Ready for My Close-Up As expected, many schools embraced the “Snapshot” theme; however, some did so with a little extra pizzazz! Students at Richmond County Schools, Augusta, Ga., enjoyed National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day on Tuesday, October 13, an initiative supported by Kiwi magazine, with a little twist: instant photo booths! Students posed with their parents behind decorative photo frames adorned with official NSLW logos and artwork from SNA’s online NSLW 2015 Toolkit. Similarly, middle schoolers at Atchison (Kan.) Middle School were encouraged to “Strike a Pose” with their lunch tray in front of a “School Lunch Snapshot” backdrop. There were extra props, including sunglasses and headwear, to add to the fun! Among the celebration activities at Ellis Middle School in Elgin, Ill., kids took “selfies” while in the lunch line; these pictures showed off the students with nutritious meals. New menu items, decorations, contests and prizes are just a few components that make NSLW so memorable for students. Staff from the New Hanover County Schools’ Child Nutrition department in Wilmington, N.C., prepared a bulletin board at D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy that featured pictures of students in the lunch line. At Anthony (Fla.) Elementary School, students provided snapshots of themselves to be displayed on the serving wall line all week. At the end of the week, one snapshot was chosen in a drawing, and that student won a Digital Z2300 Polaroid Camera. Photo-Ready Festivities Celebrating NSLW in West Newbury, Mass., Kitchen Manager Linda Vienneau of Pentucket Regional School District created a unique poster of all the foods that were offered during the week at Dr. Frederick N. Sweetsir School. Each child who went through the lunch line was given an “I Tried It” sticker if they sampled selected menu items. Seeing all the friends that sampled school food certainly can be an incentive for students to try it themselves! Additionally, special guests were a welcome addition to NSLW festivities in many schools. From school personnel to TV news anchors to high school athletes, the saying, “The more, the merrier,” was the name of the game! Cafeteria Director Ann “Cookie” White, Western Beaver County (Pa.) School District, was excited to participate in NSLW for the first time. The district’s weeklong celebration was a huge success, partially due to plenty of involvement from the community. Police and fire personnel, as well as high school football players and cheerleaders and even school mascot, Wes, participated in the fun. “The kids keep asking when we are going to do this again,” exclaims White. In the Waukee (Iowa) Community School District, Superintendent Dr. David Wilkerson served up potatoes during lunch at Timberline School, while students at Waukee Middle School were treated to apple crisp served by the district’s Nutritionist, Sara Neary. Farther south at Treutlen Elementary School in Soperton, Ga., students welcomed a special visit from Treutlen High School homecoming queen Tia Avery. Say Cheese! It’s easy to be inspired by the creativity in the school nutrition stratosphere, but here’s a little more food for thought: More than 70% of SNA members have said that recognizing NSLW helps them achieve their goals, and more than 80% say it helps them increase participation. Head over to page 38 for ideas and information about NSLW 2016, “Show Your Spirit,” and then you can set your intention for this year’s celebration. Do you want to use the occasion to excite the school nutrition team or make it a student-centered campaign? Or perhaps a little bit of both! The next National School Lunch Week is scheduled for October 10-14, 2016, and the theme is meant to focus on getting students, administrators and parents energized about joining in the weeklong celebration. Finally, did you celebrate National School Breakfast Week in March? If so, share details and photos of how you spread the message to “Wake Up to School Breakfast.” Send these to email@example.com or by post to NSBW Wrap-Up, School Nutrition, 120 Waterfront St., Suite 300, National Harbor, MD 20745. You may just see your creative efforts in the pages of this magazine! And the Winner Is…. To complement the theme of the week, SNA members were encouraged to take pride in their great snapshots and participate in the Association’s inaugural NSLW photo contest! Taking place during the entire month of October 2015, the contest’s different categories offered ample opportunity to capture the full scope of the spirit of school lunch. SNA received more than 150 entries from school districts from across the nation, and while it was difficult for the panel of judges to identify the best of the best, they selected three standouts. For their winning entries, the following individuals won a special prize pack featuring a photo tent, a selfie stick and a book on food photography to help them take their award-worthy talents to the next level! Congratulations to the winners displayed above. Heidi Funkhouser is associate editor for School Nutrition.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
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