What we eat begins to affect our bodies before it even gets to our guts. The anticipation alone of a tasty treat is enough to make us salivate, readying our systems for nutrient breakdown, transport, and use as energy for all of life’s activities. The importance of healthy eating and nutrition is the key to a fully functioning body.
Food is perhaps the most important and the least realized influencer of our overall health and well-being. Food acts as macro & microscopic instructions for nearly all of our bodily functions; from physical exertion and mental prowess to our immune system’s capacity to withstand compromise.
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According to the Food and Nutrition Service sector of the USDA, more than 30 million children in the United States are estimated to be participating in the National School Lunch Program, where nearly seventy-five percent of participants are enrolled in the free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs.
School-age children and young adults generally eat at least half of their meals for the day at school, where for many, food served at school may be their most regular source of nourishment.
Especially crucial throughout development, regularly consuming good, nutritious foods has lifelong effects.
Adults who eat a healthy diet live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cognitive diseases like dementia, and certain cancers. Healthful eating can also help people with chronic diseases manage these conditions and prevent complications.
That said, most school lunch programs follow Standard American Diet guidelines, whereby fewer than 1 in 10 U.S. adults and adolescents eat enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. These foods are also highly processed, containing large amounts of added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats, all of which contribute to increased health risks.
In our fast-forward culture, we have lost the art of eating well. Food is often little more than fuel to pour down the hatch while doing other stuff – surfing the Web, driving, walking along the street. Dining al desko is now the norm in many workplaces. All of this speed takes a toll. Obesity, eating disorders and poor nutrition are rife.Carl Honore, Journalist
As schools are the source for a majority of a student’s meals, they ought to be providing these growing minds and bodies with healthful, nutritious foods as well as education surrounding healthy norms.
In this way, the World Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (WAIE) incorporates courses in nutrition and food preparation into the core curriculum, providing all students with an opportunity to develop nourishing food habits. Families of students are also encouraged to participate in course projects and community workshops centered on healthy eating.
Students at WAIE also receive a funds when enrolled in Holistic Health courses to use for purchasing food during the course. This increases food access and security, where the high cost of and limited access to nutritious foods continues to be a pervasive issue of social inequity within the United States and beyond.
Here at WAIE, we believe that secure access to healthful food is a basic necessity (and right) of all humans, especially throughout a youth’s development.