Nutrition & Wellness
Essex Valley School is committed to serving healthy meals to children, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat milk; that are moderate in sodium, low in saturated fat, and have zero grams trans-fat per serving (nutrition label or manufacturer’s specification); and to meeting the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements. The school meal programs aim to improve the diet and health of school children, help mitigate childhood obesity, model healthy eating to support the development of lifelong healthy eating patterns and support healthy choices while accommodating cultural food preferences and special dietary needs.
Essex Valley School recognizes that child and adolescent obesity has become a major health concern in the United States. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), funds child nutrition programs and establishes required nutrition standards for school lunch and breakfast programs. In accordance with the requirements of the HHFKA, our school shall implement this WellnessPolicy that includes goals for nutrition promotion, nutrition education, physical activity, and other school based activities that promote student wellness.
Goals forNutrition Education
Essex Valley School will teach, model, encourage and support healthy eating by all students. Essex Valley School will provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:
Is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;
Includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant and participatory activities, such as cooking demonstrations or lessons, promotions, taste-testing, farm visits, and school gardens;
Promotes fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, and healthy food preparation methods;
Links with school meal programs, cafeteria nutrition promotion activities, school gardens, Farm to School programs, other school foods, and nutrition-related community services;
Includes nutrition education training for teachers and other staff.
Food service staff, in consultation with the Principal or designee, will coordinate obtaining student input on menu planning with the goal of seeking popular and healthy dining choices.
Food service staff will whenever possible, place the healthier food items in the service line where students are more likely to choose them.
Goals for Physical Activity: All students shall receive health/physical education under the supervision of a properly certified teaching staff member as required by the New Jersey Department of Education. Essex Valley School will offer high school students opportunities to participate in school interscholastic team activities coordinated and under the supervision of school staff members.
Staff Qualifications and Professional Development
All Essex Valley School nutrition program staff will meet or exceed hiring and annual continuing education/training requirements in the USDA professional standards for child nutrition professionals. These school nutrition personnel will refer to USDA’s Professional Standards for School Nutrition Standards website to search for training that meets their learning needs.
Essex Valley School will establish a Wellness Committee comprised of the Principal or designee, a health/physical education teacher, a school nurse, parents, students, and food service staff member. Essex Valley School is committed to promoting the Nutrition Policy with all food service personnel, teachers, nurses, and other school administrative staff so they have the skills they need to implement this policy and promote healthy eating practices. Essex Valley School will work toward expanding awareness about this policy among students, parents, teachers, and the community at large.