How many times have we wished for healthier foods in our children's schools? Did you know there is an organization that does just that? By helping schools all over the country?
Meet the Coalition for Healthy School Food.
Out of the many amazing speakers I had the pleasure of meeting at the Remedy Food Conference this year, one stood out above the rest. And that was the presentation from Amie Hamlin, who is the executive director of the Coalition for Healthy Schoool Food.
The Coalition for Healthy School Food (CHSF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that introduces plant-based foods and nutrition education in schools to educate the whole school community about the health, environmental, and social justice issues of our food choices.
We all know our food system here in America needs some help, with its emphasis on animal-based foods and ultra-processed foods. And as a result, if predictions hold true, by the year 2030, 1 out of every 2 Americans will be obese. (source)
The sad thing is, this is not just an adult problem. It's affecting our children as well.
Did you know:
- One out of three children is overweight or obese.
- Type 2 diabetes, formerly called “adult-onset” is becoming increasingly more common in elementary children.
- 33% of all US children are now predicted to end up with type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives, with that number jumping to 40 – 53% if they are African American or Latino
- Children as young as 8 years old being prescribed cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering drugs.
- 50% of children between the ages of 2 – 15 already have fatty streaks in their arteries, literally early-stage heart disease.
These are our KIDS! And Grandkids!
So what can we do?
The Coalition for Healthy School Food
For one, we can start in our schools, and that is exactly what CHSF is doing.
Many students don’t have access to enough food, let alone healthy food, at home... so it is critical that students get not just enough food, but healthy food choices at school.
And, for those children who are eating healthfully at home, schools should not undermine their parents’/caregivers’ efforts by forcing them to eat heavily processed foods. Chicken nuggets anyone?
It's time our schools realized that pizza and mozzarella sticks are NOT "healthy" choices!
The CHSF has developed many different programs to help fight this problem.
Partnership with NYC Schools
They work in a formal partnership with the NYC Office of Food & Nutrition Services. Together, they created a vegetarian menu and have helped four schools adopt it.
Food UnEarthed Curriculum
Their "Food Unearthed" curriculum delivers plant-based nutrition education that is evidence-based and incorporates the impact our food choices have on health, the environment, and farmed animals. Each lesson includes a snack and there are several hands-on food preparation classes each year, as well as field trip opportunities to restaurants, farmers' markets, and grocery stores.
Cool School Food in the Classroom
The 'Cool School Food in the Classroom' program is a recipe specific curriculum that includes a slideshow about the culture the food is from, a sensory experience with the ingredients (see, touch, smell), tasting the prepared food, and then a discussion about the Power of Plants.
They also have visiting Vegan Chefs, taste testing while in the cafeteria lines, family dinner nights, cooking classes, and so much more.
What CHSF Is All About
Here is a short video clip showcasing some of their programs.
It just so happens, that Dr. Michael Greger serves on the Board of Directors.
And Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Milton Mills, and yes, even Dr. Oz - are all on the Advisory Board.
So even our plant-based docs realize the importance of this program!
I was so impressed by Amie's presentation that I met with her after her talk and asked her how I could help. This blog post, along with my donation, is what I am doing to help.
Because here's the thing.
As a parent, and as a grandparent, my kids and grandkids are everything to me.
Our kids are our FUTURE!
And if our schools are not teaching our kids to make good food choices, vegan or not, then I will gladly help support an organization that can help fix that.
Remember, they are non-profit, and rely on contributions to keep their programs going. So I highly recommend you explore their website more thoroughly as they are working to meet their year-end goals (so donations today and tomorrow are especially appreciated).
They have a Valentine's Auction coming up and of course, they have a donate page that I will link below.
Any help will greatly be appreciated.
Thanks everyone and have a Happy New Year.