My Plate and ChooseMyPlate.gov is the United States Department of Agriculture effort that redefined the traditional food pyramid, transforming the pyramid concept of food groups to categories represented visually on a plate. Live Better decided to use My Plate as the centerpiece of addressing our K-5 goals.
Every year we purchased a My Plate and placemat for every rising Kindergarten student. We work with school nutrition directors to plan a grade-specific My Plate curriculum for all K-5 students for integration into their health education courses. Students are encouraged to take the contents of their lunches and put the foods in the appropriate sections on the My Plate to visually see how to make a My Plate meal. We have committed to continuing funding these purchases as part of our long-term strategy.
Students only have so much control over choices related to wellness, so we needed to reach parents with our Live Better messages as well. To help reinforce our school wellness curriculum, we create and provide Live Better print materials to go home on a cyclical basis to parents of each K-5 student. One added piece is “Wellness Wednesday” health tips. Each Wednesday during the school year, a Live Better health tip is shared during the morning announcements at school and a corresponding Live Better handout goes home to parents.
Superfood and Try Days
We have also developed a Superfood of the Month series, working with the school nutrition directors to select superfoods to highlight and incorporate into the school cafeteria menu each month. As part of our Superfood of the Month series, Superfood posters are delivered to each school for display in the cafeteria during the respective months. We also design and print Superfood newsletters that go home to parents each month that include Superfood nutritional benefits, preparation tips and recipes.
The Superfood series also includes Superfood “Try Days” at all Thomas County elementary schools provided by our hospital food and nutrition team. Try-Days give students a chance to taste the Superfood of the Month in a recipe prepared by our hospital chef, and the recipe is sent home as well. Students who taste the superfood receive an “I am a Superfood Hero, I tried something new today” sticker and are able to enter their name for door prize drawings.