School lunches are important because it provides students the nutrition they need to stay healthy and to learn in class. Studies show that having a healthier food vendor for schools will increase the overall test scores of students. Recently, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and the Nutrition Policy Institute partnered up to work on the school lunch program in the school district in San Francisco. They plan to do the following:
- Renovations to dining spaces
- The use of distributed points of sale for school meals (vending machines and mobile food carts)
- Staff promotion of school meals. (https://food.berkeley.edu/priorities/good-food-access/food-in-schools/)
What is interesting is that many of the schools within the SFUSD are actually pilot programs (programs for experimentation) to test out what makes kids want to eat at their cafeteria and how to make healthy, delicious, and filling meals accessible to them. In a video, Doctor Kristine Madsen of Berkeley Food Institute said "Convenience is huge..." Madsen says that when healthy food is convenient and accessible to school kids, kids are more likely to eat it. I agree with Madsen's point because in my experience, having a convenient salad bar in my school dining hall makes it more convincing for me to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Moreover, an organization called SFUSD's Future Dining Services has been working closely with an innovation firm, IDEO, to renovate school cafeterias, which has an effect of giving students an inviting and inclusive stimulus, making them enjoy the cafeteria space and perhaps stay there to eat the food. Overall, I like that the Food Institute at UC Berkeley is doing something to improve the health of children in the San Francisco School District. I love the mission and I really think that the result of this will be for the better.
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