Healthy Eating and Education

Healthy Nutrition Habits at School

Louisiana Schools Can Foster Healthy Eating Habits for Students

Well-Ahead Louisiana works to create healthy schools across the state through programs that encourage students of all ages to practice healthy eating. A healthy school nutrition environment provides students with nutritious and appealing foods and beverages, consistent and accurate messages about good nutrition, and ways to learn about and practice healthy eating throughout the time children spend on school grounds. When students are healthier, they do better in school and are more likely to have better outcomes in adulthood.

Low-Cost Strategies to Support Healthy Choices

Promote Healthy Foods and Beverages

Students are exposed to food and beverage advertisements while on campus through posters, vending machine signage, scoreboards and even textbooks. To ensure students see healthy messaging, school districts can implement policies and practices that promote food and beverages that are part of a healthy diet, including fruits, vegetables and plain water.  Schools may also consider: 
  • Conducting taste tests of new menu items and asking for feedback
  • Placing nutritious items where they are easily visible and accessible
  • Creating attractive displays for fruits and vegetables
  • Lowering the cost of nutritious options
  • Using signs or verbal prompts encouraging students to select healthy foods

Healthy Celebrations

Classroom celebrations, parties and special events related to academic achievement or positive classroom behavior often involve food and beverages. Educators and parents can support student health by providing fruits, vegetables and plain water for in-classroom as well as out-of-school time activities.

Non-Food Rewards

Support student health by offering non-food prizes as rewards for good behavior and achievement. Some ideas for non-food rewards include extra recess time, stickers or a note of recognition from a teacher or principal.

Eat to Win

Well-Ahead’s Eat to Win campaign uses positive messaging to encourage students to choose a fruit and vegetable with their school lunch. Generate excitement about healthy eating by including an Eat to Win segment in your daily announcements at least once per week. This should be a reminder to students of your school’s involvement and can include facts and tips to encourage students to make healthy choices. Here are some tools and tips to help make the healthy choice an easy one for students so they can Eat to Win!

This project was funded using U.S. Department of Agriculture grant funds. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider.

Floor decals are a fun reminder for students to choose fruits and vegetables while they wait in the lunch line. Place these sequentially so students will read “Eat,” “to,” “win” as they move through the cafeteria. 

Elementary School Floor Decals

High School Floor Decals

Display the Rigid Sign prominently on campus, preferably at the interior entrance so students will see it as a daily reminder to choose fruits and vegetables for lunch. 

Elementary and High School Rigid Sign

Place the Photo Frame in a location with minimal visual distractions in the background where students frequently stop or set up a photo booth to encourage them to take photos and post them on their social media along with #EatToWin. 

Elementary and High School Photo Frame

Show parents and stakeholders that your school is encouraging students to Eat to Win through social media. Schools may download the sample posts and social media images for use on their accounts Don’t forget to tag Well-Ahead Louisiana to let us know how your school supports healthy eating!

The available social media images include two co-branded and two unlabeled graphics. Schools with a logo that are capable of adding their logo to the co-branded social media images, without compromising the quality of the photo, may do so. All other schools should use the two social media images that are unlabeled. 

Sample Social Media Posts

Social Media Images for Elementary Schools:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3 (co-branded)

Option 4 (co-branded)

Social Media Images for High Schools: 

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3 (co-branded)

Option 4 (co-branded)

Elementary school teachers can use Eat to Win Stickers as a reward for students who choose fruits and vegetables at lunch. Create a lunch chart and place a stamp or check mark alongside the names of students who chose fruits and vegetables at lunch each day. Reward students who earned a check every day, either weekly or monthly. 

Sticker 1

Sticker 2

Sticker 3

Louisiana Fit Kids

Louisiana Fit Kids serves as the go-to resource for school meals and for schools that are enrolled in the USDA child nutrition programs in collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Education Division of Nutrition. These resources help schools increase education around healthy eating, participation in school meal programs and adherence with USDA nutrition standards. 

Research shows students who participate in school meal programs like the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program consume more milk, fruits and vegetable during meal times. Eating breakfast at school is also associated with better attendance rates, fewer missed school days and better test scores.

The Louisiana Fit Kids program includes resources on:

  • Implementing updated meal patterns and nutrition standards
  • Professional Standards requirements for school nutrition professionals who operate and manage the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program
  • Creating materials about child nutrition
  • On-site trainings on a variety of child nutrition topics
  • Identifying food items that meet Smart Snacks criteria
  • Guidance on creating, updating and revising school wellness plans

Louisiana Farm to School Program

The Louisiana Farm to School program provides training, resources and technical assistance to Louisiana schools interested in implementing farm-to-school activities and nutrition education in collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Education, Division of Nutrition. 

The program provides students access to nutritious, high quality food while farm-to-school activities enhance education through hands-on learning related to food, health, agriculture and nutrition. Students who participate in these activities are more knowledgeable about food and nutrition, willing to try new foods and, on average, consume more fruits and vegetables.