Today we feature OWG guest blogger and childhood obesity consultant, Melodie Griffin. Melodie’s passion lies in the prevention of childhood obesity through the school and early learning settings. All programs Melodie promotes are fully approved by her home based lab rats, five year old son, Howie, and two year old daughter, Hope.
My little man, Howie, starts Kindergarten on Monday. He’s overly excited, I’m a ball of nerves and can’t stop wondering where the time went. With the approaching first day of school, a few major decisions (major to a Kindergarten student and to this first time Kindergarten mom) have been the topic of discussion in our house. One that everyone seems to have an opinion on is school lunch – bring vs. buy.
When I ask my mom friends what they’re going to do for their elementary students, the answer is almost always the same, “I’m packing their lunch, of course.” When I dig further, they often tell me how much they disliked their school lunches and don’t want to put their kids in the same situation. When I ask them if they’ve had a school cafeteria lunch with their student in the recent past, the answer is almost always no. I then share the changes that have been made, the new USDA requirements, the fresh fruits and vegetables that many of the schools offer. It never fails, my friends’ jaws drop, they mutter an “I had no idea” and then commit to transitioning their student from a “bringer” to a “buyer.”
In my own house, I had a challenge committing my own little guy to a buyer. He is not a fan of change and eating a school lunch in a new school with new friends is just about enough to keep him from wanting to go to school. I came up with a solution which has Howie just as excited to eat in the cafeteria as going to his first day of Kindergarten. Last month, I started talking with him about the “restaurant” at school. I informed him the restaurant is called the cafeteria and he’ll be able to pick out a healthy and tasty meal each day. He’s so excited to eat at a restaurant and to be able to make his own decisions that he’s picking out meals from the menu he wouldn’t dare eat at home.
And of course, after we get in the swing of school, this mom will be introducing The OrganWise Guys’ Foods of the Month (FoM) program to the cafeteria manager and principal at Howie’s school. FoM provides everything a cafeteria manager needs to promote healthy options in a fun and creative way that get the students excited. After all, students who are excited about their lunch selection are more likely to consume their lunch, which will maximize their academic performance, our ultimate goal.