Supporting Success From the Lunchroom to the Classroom

Any parent can tell you that what their child eats has a clear connection to how easy it is for them to focus and engage. Diets filled with sugary snacks and processed food make it hard to sit still, pay attention and learn. Fresher, healthier meals, on the other hand, are directly connected to better academic performance. 

Decades of research shows that healthier eating leads to better outcomes in the classroom. Kids who eat quality school meals show improved attendance, behavior and academic performance compared to those who don’t.  

The power of healthy meals to help students succeed is clear. But how can we make sure all California kids have that advantage? 


The Secret Ingredient: School Food Professionals

There are School Food Professionals throughout California who are committed to improving school food to help ensure our kids are ready to learn. They recognize the benefits of providing high-quality meals to students from kindergarten to 12th grade. But providing fresh, flavorful and healthy meals to thousands of students every day requires more skills than ever before — from meal planning, sourcing ingredients and following nutrition and dietary guidelines, to cooking good and good-for-you meals that kids like to eat. 

Many schools and School Food Professionals are moving towards scratch cooking — they are developing healthy recipes using fresh ingredients and flavors kids love. Nearly 1 in 3 school districts in California report high levels of scratch cooking and momentum continues to grow. Achieving this change requires learning new skills and embracing innovative approaches, yet more and more California schools are rising to the challenge and making freshly prepared meals for their students.

School Food Professionals like RJ Lane, District Chef with Richmond’s West Contra Costa Unified School District, are making better school meals a reality. “The whole state is moving towards better, fresher meals and incorporating more scratch-cooked foods into their lunch menus,” Lane said. “That isn’t just making a difference in the school, it’s making a difference in the whole community.”

By making sure our kids are able to focus, learn and succeed in school, we’re helping them get on the path to stronger and more successful futures. Fresher, healthier school food programs that are powered by skilled School Food Professionals are key to making that a reality.  

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