A 'Food Revolution' for Preschools?

Eliza Clark
May 9, 2010

Michelle Obama is raising vegetables in the White House garden and reprimanding food companies for marketing unhealthy snacks to children. Jamie Oliver is leading a "food revolution" aimed at transforming school lunches (and also family meals) from fast food to food cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients. Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard project is bringing gardens to schools, and teaching kids about where their food comes from.

And what are we doing?

As parents of young children, we are necessarily on the frontline of the "food revolution," such as it may be.  It is up to us to give our kids healthy, fresh, preferably organic, ideally local, and, when possible, non-processed foods.  When they are very young is the best time to teach children about how plants grow, where food comes from, and the difference between broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale.

This is a tall order, as any parent knows, and very difficult to achieve in a world that relentlessly markets sweets, treats and junk to even the youngest children. We need partners to lend a hand, and one of the very best partners a parent can have is your child's preschool.

Although very few preschoolers eat a "school lunch," they nevertheless learn many lessons about food in preschool. School snacks, holiday celebrations, birthday parties, cooking and gardening activities are all occasions to teach young kids about eating and growing healthy food.  

With this in mind, there are a few questions worth considering when you are deciding where to apply to preschool for your child.  These questions are also worth asking if you are already enrolled in a preschool. As a parent, you have the chance to influence your preschool's food culture for the better.

  • Does the preschool serve fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables for snacks?
  • Do the school's cooking projects include healthy recipes?
  • Does the school use any of its outdoor space for a garden?
  • Do the children participate in gardening activities and eat the food they grow?
  • Is there a reasonable limit on sweets and treats at school parties and celebrations?

Asking these questions as a preschool parent is great practice for the many tough questions we'll need to ask when our kids get to elementary school, and are eating school lunch each day.  Let's begin educating ourselves and our kids now, so that we can each do our part in making healthy changes to our common food culture.

From the Parents

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