Healthy School Meals
The San Diego Unified School District continues to create opportunities for students to enjoy and benefit from healthier food options. The school district makes school meals more nutritious, promoting inclusion of locally grown foods in the school meals programs.
The district took the lead in an innovative farm-to-school program, connecting with San Diego County farms and providing farm-fresh produce to the schools.
The successful farm-to-school initiative led to a Harvest of the Month program that creates a relationship between the district and local farmers, leading to fresh produce in schools. The Harvest of the Month program encourages students to understand the role of the local farmer in providing healthy food choices to schools and the community.
Through Healthy Works, the San Diego Unified School District adopted model “procurement language” in its food contracts that enables the district to procure the most healthful, locally grown food. Through this innovative protocol, San Diego Unified has implemented procedures that bring healthy, local food to our students every day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt, and the vast majority of sodium we consume is in processed foods. Too much sodium is bad for your health. It can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack and stroke.
Healthy Works and San Diego Unified are working to reduce the amount of sodium in school meals. By placing an emphasis on buying whole foods that are not pre-processed, and working with food suppliers on the highest quality foods, the food students eat at school every day contains less sodium, making that food more healthful.
The San Diego Unified programs are developed as models for other school districts in communities throughout the county, and other districts have implemented or are expected to implement similar programs.
What You Can Do
Pay attention to the types of foods served at your schools, and ask where the food originates. Ask about food-service procedures at the school. Encourage your school to connect with local farmers.
For more information, contact Ashley Cassat, San Diego Unified Farm to School Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.