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School cafeteria

Activity Overview

Students develop a questionnaire to survey their peers about the food in the cafeteria (or other lunch option). They analyze the data, and develop and present recommendations based on their findings.

Essential QuestionDownload the Curriculum

In what ways might we improve the food at our school?

Background

Today, an alarming number of youth in the United States are poorly nourished. School-age children—like the rest of society—face an escalation of diet-related illness, including diabetes and obesity. School lunches that support healthful food choices and sustainable practices can produce immediate benefits, both for student health and well-being, and also for the school and the larger community.

Students may not have the power to effect big changes in the lunch offerings, but even small changes can make a difference. In Oregon, for example, schools offer one locally grown fruit or vegetable a month, which has resulted in kids enjoying and eating more fresh foods. In Florida, students sample and vote for possible new menu items for their school cafeterias, helping school nutrition staff identify recipes that meet nutrition standards and appeal to student taste buds. And an increasing number of schools across the country now offer salad bars stocked with fresh greens and other fresh fruits and vegetables.

Materials

Copies of School Lunch Questionnaire student page
Colored pencils, pens, and poster board, or presentation software

Estimated Time

Two or three 50-minute class periods, plus time to distribute the questionnaire

Download the Nourish Curriculum Guide to read the full activity.

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