Healthy eating options expand for students at Dodge Center school
Students don't always have good options for after-school snacks.
In Dodge Center, Triton Public Schools is working to change that with support from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).
The school has introduced Sports Packs, which include a sandwich, fruit, vegetables, granola and water. The packs are available for purchase and can be picked up after school.
On average, students consume 35 to 50 percent of their daily calories at school, which makes school an important setting to model healthy eating. The packs give students an affordable way to fuel up healthy for the rest of their busy day.
“If kids have an activity, they don’t have much time to get something healthy and they’ll just end up eating chips, pop and candy bars,” said Craig Schlichting, Triton Public Schools Principal. “That’s not healthy.”
School officials looked at the district wellness plan, which includes providing healthier food options for students. That review revealed problems with student nutrition. Kids aren’t provided enough healthy food options and that gets worse when they’re busy after school.
Student committee helps develop action plan
The limited healthy options led Schlichting to realize the school needed to do more to meet the wellness policies. He met with Allison Knudson, Dodge County SHIP coordinator, to get help finding solutions.
She suggested creating a student committee to work on an action plan that would improve how the school was incorporating the wellness policy, which works to improve physical activity and afterschool nutrition into daily student life.
The packs give students an affordable way to fuel up healthy for the rest of their busy day.
Student input was important, according to Schlichting, who realized the program would only be successful if students were involved.
A five student committee was formed and they chose to address after school nutrition. They met with Knudson regularly and looked at all of their options. The committee also met with the school’s food service staff.
“Often, decisions are made for students,” Knudson said. “The goal for us was to allow them to have input. I met with the kids and suggested some SHIP initiatives. From that, we focused on healthy eating and created the plan.”
Distribution of the packs began in April. In the short time that the program has been available, Schlichting, who has two sons in the district, has seen its value.
“One of my sons told me that he was happy to have the pack,” he said. “He had a sports practice after school one day. I was working and I couldn’t get him a healthy snack. The pack made it possible for him to get through practice and he said it was enough to hold him over until dinner.”