Feeding Kids’ Appetites to Learn

Delia Barron

“I notice that my kids now gravitate towards the fruit first before chips or any other unhealthy items. Now they want watermelon, they want kiwis — something I thought my kids would never like. It helps them learn and I find that they have more energy as far as paying more attention in class. They’re less sick — both of my daughters had perfect attendance — it does help.” Delia Barron, mother of two elementary school children in Bakersfield, is one of millions of parents in California whose children are now eating healthier meals in school thanks to a federal program — Healthy Hunger-Free Kids — to raise nutritional standards for school food. Nutrition service directors like Riverside Unified School District’s Rodney Taylor agree with Delia that serving more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low fat or no fat milk on a daily basis can “absolutely modify” children’s eating behaviors which in turn improves their learning abilities. Over 90 percent of California’s parents surveyed support raising school nutritional standards, according to a new survey released by The California Endowment. Is your child participating in the Healthy School Meals program? Call your school administrator to see if you qualify for reduced price or free school meals. This message is brought to you by The California Endowment, New America Media and this newspaper.
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