By: Nikki Nies
With the help of the Board of Education, New Jersey has implemented a nutrition and wellness program, with the hopes not to only curb the current obesity epidemic, but to do its part in healthy eating.
Our schools have come so far, I remember when I was in high school, the healthiest drink besides water was Vitamin Water. However, four years later, and there are strict restrictions, which I’m proud to see schools are held accountable.
The list includes:
- Food of minimal nutritional value—soda water, chewing gum, water ice, processed foods made predominantly of artificial sweeteners, hard candies, etc.
- Any item with sugar—in any form—as first ingredient
- Schools shall reduce the purchase of any products containing trans fat
- In elementary schools—100% of beverages shall be milk, water, 100% fruit or vegetable juices
- In middle and high schools—at least 60% of all beverages, besides water and milk shall be 100% fruit or vegetable juice
- In regards to ice cream, no more than 40% of the item should exceed the standards for sugar and fat
I’m happy to see that not only the content of the food is improving, but portion control is becoming a major factor in nutrition education. One can consume healthy foods, but to eat to one’s fullest potential, one needs to understand and utilize servings.
Guidelines for portions:
- Limit nuts and seeds to no more than 8 g of total fat per serving
- No more than 2 g of saturated fat per serving
- Not including water or milk—beverages shouldn’t exceed 12 oz.
- Whole milk shouldn’t exceed 8 oz.
This policy states the Board of Education is committed to the next generation’s health and will continue to expand awareness of this policy to the community. I’m happy schools are finally seeing their role in nutrition education. However, I can’t wait for the day when “health” class is about improving one’s longevity, including healthy eating, not just sex education