10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Child’s School Meal Programs

After attending the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference over the summer, I couldn’t stop thinking about ways I can get involved more locally, at the kids’ school. While I have been compensated, all opinions expressed are my own.

10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Child's School Meal Programs

(above photo credit: Rick Brady/School Nutrition Association)

Having three kids in the same fairly small school, I am already pretty involved in activities and functions. While there is always something to volunteer for, there are also endless ways to contribute to the school, to make a difference in your child’s life.

School nutrition... do you know what goes on beyond the menu?

In my Behind-the-Scenes Look at School Nutrition last month, I shared a variety of things I learned about school nutrition. It was amazing to see what schools are doing to consistently improve nutrition and how passionate the attendees were.

Now that school has been in session for a little bit, I wanted to share some ideas to get more involved in your child’s school meal programs and help make a positive difference.

  • Join the school’s parent-teacher organization. At meetings, you can help brainstorm healthy options and changes.
  • Reach out to the district Nutritional Director and/or Supervisor. Some school nutrition departments have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts where you can follow for updates and changes in the programs. See if they have volunteer opportunities or committees to join.

10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Child’s School Meal Programs

  • Follow Tray Talk on Facebook to learn about hot topics in school meal programs and get ideas to bring to your school.
  • Review the school meal menu with your child.
  • Go eat lunch with your child. In our school, parents can walk through the lunch line, purchase the same food and see the options. This is a great first-hand look and gives you a chance to see how the students react to the current offerings.
  • Help the school create or manage a school garden. This can get students, other families, & the community involved. Kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they are part of the growing process. Learn more from the USDA to get started!
  • Organize School Lunch Hero Day to celebrate the cafeteria staff on the first Friday in May.
  • Organize, lead, or be apart of a recycling program to help eliminate the amount of waste that leaves the school.

10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Child’s School Meal Programs

  • Research free school programs. For example, Carton2Garden. This program is about recycling paper cartons into school gardens and schools could win up to $5,000!
  • Find out if your school has a wellness committee to join. Such committees are made up of volunteers to help establish and update nutrition and physical activity policies.

10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Child’s School Meal Programs

Don’t forget to continue to offer new, healthy food options at home. If there is a fruit or vegetable you see on the school menu plan that you know your child hasn’t had before, buy it for a home meal beforehand. They might like it and are more likely to get it when it is offered at school.

There are many ways to stay involved in your kids’ school, and as they get older, they can become involved to help change and make a positive impact themselves. For more ideas, visit SchoolNutrition.org.

Are there any other ways you get involved in your child’s school nutrition programs?