Education Opinion

Healthier hallways

By Jessica Shyu — December 06, 2007 2 min read

Dear Readers,
I will be posting every Tuesday as well as on the weekend from now on. I love hearing suggestions on how to improve the blog-- if you have a suggestion or a topic you’d like to read about, please leave a message. Thank you for the great feedback so far!

Name a junk food and chances are, I’ll eat it. But as much as I love junk, I don’t want our schools to love junk too. Schools have a responsibility to be models in the community, and as much as I love McDonald’s No. 3 breakfast meal (artery clogging, I know, I know), I had oatmeal in front of my kids in the morning. If I had to eat in front of them, I needed to at least be a good role model.

But being a good role model will only take you so far when the school is serving the kids corn dogs and Pop Tarts for breakfast. Sooner or later, one would need to lobby the district, state or federal government for healthier meals for kids. So it’s a wonderful thing that there is new legislation on the table to reduce the amount of junk food sold in cafeterias, vending machines and snacks bars. If this amendment to the farm bill passes (and there’s great debate on whether it will actually pass, so let’s hope for the next generation’s sake that something effective passes), it will be the “broadest effort to limit what children eat,” the New York Times reports.

“Food for sale would have to be limited in saturated and trans fat and have less than 35 percent sugar. Sodium would be limited, and snacks must have no more than 180 calories per serving for middle and elementary schools and 200 calories for high schools.”

That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that “The standards would not affect occasional fund-raising projects, like Girl Scout cookie sales.”

How does one define occasional fund-raising projects? My visits to middle and high schools these days, especially around the noon or three o’clock hours, are much like a trip around Costco. I’m there for 800 napkins (or 5 classroom observation), but while there, I can pick up a brownie, some pizza and a bag of hot Cheetos with cheese sauce (a south Texas favorite!). A different club is raising money every day of the week. By the time I loop around the building, I’m 5 observations and 700 calories healthier.

But from there is better news. Unlike corporate-purchased snack bar snacks, promoting healthier fund-raisers is entirely within the control of the community. Sure, that pan of brownies can turn a $10 profit in 20 minutes, but with all the news coming out on childhood obesity and its health risks, the effects for those brownies are bleaker and more immediate than ever.

I never took this on as a club sponsor, but now wish I did: What would it take to lower the risk for heart disease just in the school hallway? What would it look like if every fund-raising booth sold healthier snacks? How would it be if our students were empowered to lead this movement on their own to change the school themselves? Sometimes, the greatest changes can happen outside our Capitol.

Food for thought: Some are a bit fancy for 13-year-olds and not after-school-hallway-appropriate, but here’s a quick list of healthy snacks.

Back to School: A database of top healthy snacks, smoothies and special ones for kids
Fun and Healthy Quick recipes to use with the kids
Healthy Snacks and Beverages for Kids: Some good ideas ranging from turkey roll-ups to trail mix recipes
Eating Well: A bit more on the gourmet end.

The opinions expressed in New Terrain are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read