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Focus on Nutrition

We are parents, just like you. We love our kids and want to see them grow up strong and healthy, with a solid education and a world of possibilities at their fingertips. As school dining service providers, we are in a unique position to directly affect the health and wellbeing of the children we serve.

 

With childhood obesity rates rising throughout the country, we take our commitment to providing the most wholesome, balanced meals to our students very seriously. Studies show that children have better attendance, behave better in school, are more alert and retain more information when they start their day off with a wholesome breakfast, and maintain nourishment through a well-rounded lunch and healthy snacks.

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Nutrition Awareness Programs

Whitsons School Nutrition plays a very important role as partners in nutrition education in the communities we serve. We consider it an honor and a privilege to educate our elementary and secondary students about healthy eating and assist them in taking the steps necessary to develop lifelong healthy eating habits.

 

Recognizing the importance of nutrition education, Whitsons offers two nutrition wellness programs for our school districts: Smart Choices™ for high and middle school levels and Nutrition Safari® for elementary schools. Our nutrition education programs and lesson plans are offered to our clients free of charge.

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Nutrition Safari®

Nutrition education at the elementary level should be fun and exciting, encouraging children to want to eat healthy! Our innovative, award-winning nutrition awareness program for elementary students, Nutrition Safari, is a revolutionary interactive program that makes learning about nutrition a fun adventure! Using our unique “spokesanimal” characters, each representing a different food group, we reinforce healthy eating and the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. Our program includes:


  • Nutritional Menus. Each spokesanimal takes turns sponsoring the monthly menu with a special nutrition message. The healthier item of the day is highlighted with an apple on the menu.
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Nutrition Safari®

Nutrition education at the elementary level should be fun and exciting, encouraging children to want to eat healthy! Our innovative, award-winning nutrition awareness program for elementary students, Nutrition Safari, is a revolutionary interactive program that makes learning about nutrition a fun adventure! Using our unique “spokesanimal” characters, each representing a different food group, we reinforce healthy eating and the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. Our program includes:


  • Nutritional Menus. Each spokesanimal takes turns sponsoring the monthly menu with a special nutrition message. The healthier item of the day is highlighted with an apple on the menu.
  • Elementary Chef Trek Program. This is a unique nutrition education program developed by Whitsons in order to introduce crisp flavorful fruits and vegetables to young palettes and create life-long, healthy eating habits. The primary feature of the program is a visiting chef that conducts interactive food demos, complete with marketing tools such as a Guest Chef banner, activity sheets highlighting the foods showcased in the tasting and tasting posters featuring the Nutrition Safari® characters.
  • Monthly Nutrition Theme Day. Each month, we host a Nutrition Safari theme day.
  • Fruit or Veggie of the Month Program. We highlight a different fruit or vegetable each month, supported by special menu items and marketing materials.
  • Posters with Nutritional Messages. Throughout the servery, we feature nutritional messages from the safari characters, plus posters that promote healthy eating and activity.
  • Apple Window Clings. These are placed on the servery glass in front of healthier menu items.
  • Monthly Activity Sheets. We distribute monthly activity sheets with nutrition information and puzzles, word searches and recipes.
  • Activity of the Month. We highlight a different activity each month to encourage students to remain active.
  • Monthly Lucky Fruit or Veggie Day. Each month, a special sticker is placed on a few of the wrapped pieces of fruit or souffle cups of the veggie dipping sauce, and students who find the sticker get a free healthy snack.
  • Spokesanimal Visit. At least once per year, one of the safari characters will come in full costume, along with a “Safari Ranger” to speak to the children about nutrition during lunch.
  • Additional Decor. Stationery, cut-outs floor and wall graphics depicting the characters and their message reinforce our program and guide the children through their selection of the components of a healthy meal.
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Smart Choices

Smart Choices is designed to provide secondary students with a variety of nutritious menu choices and age-appropriate nutrition education materials. Program highlights:


  • Our menus include heart-healthy "Smart Choice" selections that are designated with a small heart logo for easy identification. Each Smart Choice adheres to the following nutritional criteria: 500-600 calories; 670mg or less of sodium; 30% or less total fat; 10% or less of saturated fat; 66mg or less of cholesterol; Zero Trans Fats.
  • Repositionable logos on the servery display glass indicate “Smart Choice” healthier options of the day.
  • Colorful posters promote healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Smart Choices monthly newsletter featuring nutrition articles, recipes and exercise tips.
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Smart Choices

Smart Choices is designed to provide secondary students with a variety of nutritious menu choices and age-appropriate nutrition education materials. Program highlights:


  • Our menus include heart-healthy "Smart Choice" selections that are designated with a small heart logo for easy identification. Each Smart Choice adheres to the following nutritional criteria: 500-600 calories; 670mg or less of sodium; 30% or less total fat; 10% or less of saturated fat; 66mg or less of cholesterol; Zero Trans Fats.
  • Repositionable logos on the servery display glass indicate “Smart Choice” healthier options of the day.
  • Colorful posters promote healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Smart Choices monthly newsletter featuring nutrition articles, recipes and exercise tips.
  • Smart Choices Info Series pamphlets provide information on various health-related issues.
  • Smart Snack Program, including fresh whole fruits, yogurt parfaits, pretzels, baked chips, raisins, fruit cups, veggies w/ low-fat dip, etc.
  • Monthly Smart Choices theme day with a focus on a special nutritious menu feature.
  • Fruit or Vegetable of the Month each month, with special menu items and marketing materials.
  • Each March, we celebrate National Nutrition Month with a special Wellness Day, featuring an information table and healthy snack giveaways.
  • We highlight a different activity each month to encourage students to remain active.
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Supplemental Educational Programs and Materials

Our educational materials support classroom efforts in promoting nutrition and healthy eating. In addition to our standard marketing materials, we also offer supplemental educational tools, such as auditorium programs and lesson plans, to assist our educational partners in reinforcing nutrition education.

 

  • Sample Lesson Plans. We have sample lesson plans for each level (K-3, 4-6, Middle School and High School) available to our clients free of charge to assist in nutrition education. Our supplemental lesson plans include teacher guides, in-class activity sheets and take home sheets reinforcing what was learned in school.

  • Kindergarten Orientations. We offer Kindergarten orientation programs to students and parents, where parents and incoming kindergarteners receive a tour of the cafe and a kit full of fun nutritional information from our Safari characters to familiarize them with the breakfast and lunch programs.

  • Nutrition Information Booths. We like to hold annual wellness fairs during National Nutrition Month each March. We typically display a booth full of information with fun nutrition-themed giveaways and healthy snack samplings.

  • Elmers Garden™. We work with interested schools to help create an on-site organic garden to grow fresh herbs and spices and, where possible, fresh produce. Since growing seasons and soil conditions vary throughout the country, in-door herb gardens and outdoor greenhouses are additional options to consider.

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