Through a USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant awarded to the Walker County Public Schools Nutrition Program all students in these two schools receive free healthy snacks, a fresh fruit or vegetable each school day provided by the School Food Services.
Gilbert and Rossville are two of only 77 schools in the state of Georgia selected through a competitive USDA grant to receive federal funding for this program.
Food Services Coordinator Michelle Coker said, “Walker County schools was very fortunate to have been selected to participate in the grant this year. We are excited to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption and provide an opportunity for nutrition education to make a difference in their diets.”
Telling children to eat fruits and vegetables is not always the most effective way to change habits or preferences. Not only does this daily snack prevent children from getting hungry between meals, it also provides a learning experience giving teachers an opportunity to talk about nutrition, health and hygiene.
Students will also be introduced to fresh fruits and vegetables they might not otherwise have the opportunity to sample. Children are more likely to try new fruits and vegetables in the small setting of the classroom than in the larger, more active setting in a school cafeteria.
The goals of the program are to create a healthier school environment, to be a catalyst for change and to combat childhood obesity by helping children learn more healthful eating habits.
Students learn that fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy and tasty alternatives to snacks that are high in fat, sugar or salt. As students broaden their exposure to healthy snacks in the classroom, it is anticipated that students also will increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in the breakfast and lunch programs at school as well as at home.
The USDA grant provides a fresh fruit four times per week and a raw vegetable at least one day each week.
For more information about the Walker County Schools’ Nutrition Program, contact Michelle Coker at 706-638-7969.