Whitsons’ Nutrition Safari® Program
Engaging Students in Healthy Nutrition
Posted on November 3, 2022
Our mission goes far deeper than just serving a child the healthiest options available in our industry; it also serves as a role model and an extended education system outside of the classroom. Most school aged children will spend more time at school than they do in their own homes. As leaders in the food service industry, we believe we have a great responsibility in influencing the students we serve to not only make the right choices, but to understand why they should make them.
This past school year, we decided to relaunch our award-winning Nutrition Safari® program with new characters, nutrition messages and activities that reinforce the importance of healthy eating. This program helps to engage students in making nutritious food choices, as well as boosts inclusivity within the school community. Each month, students learn about new nutrition topics from our Safari friends while being exposed to coordinating menu offerings and enjoying the many games and activities that go along with this program.
We’ve taken our time-honored Safari program and given it an upgrade to reflect modern nutrition standards and embrace inclusivity. While some characters from the original program were phased out, a few core friends remained, with new ones being introduced under a new story: the Safari friends are going to school!
As our Safari friends go to school (just like our students), they are able to learn and share their wisdom with the students on a variety of relevant topics, from current allergens and culturally responsible meal options to top brain foods and physical activity ideas for optimal performance. Add in menu messages, monthly videos, activity sheets, food samplings and servery decor, and students are inspired to engage in their own nutrition education.
Let’s Meet Our Safari Friends
- Luke the Lion is the leader of the Nutrition Safari friends. He is strong, wise and loves to fill up on protein.
- Jillian the Giraffe is tall, strong and focused. She loves to eat fruits and veggies!
- Hardy the Hyena is admired for his calm and cool nature. He loves to eat healthy whole grains because they keep him fit!
- Walter the Bookworm enjoys reading and learning about new ways to stay healthy. He’s especially interested in brain foods because they help him to read faster and learn better.
- Talia the Toucan is swift and loves to stay strong through a nutritious diet and lots of physical activity. Heart health is her focus.
- Sammy the Squirrel is allergic to nuts. He makes sure to stay safe by eating foods that are good for him and helps others by sharing the importance of allergen-free foods. There are nutritious and safe food alternatives out there for everyone!
Coordinating Menu Options
Another feature that encourages school district participation and student engagement is promoting and hosting a Safari theme day, the marketing materials of which are supplied by Whitsons. All of our supporting materials are available to assist in marketing our monthly Safari theme day and communicating an important lesson. This year, students will enjoy such pertinent themes as What’s on My Plate, Fuel Up with High Energy Foods, My Plant-Based Spring Adventure and more.
These themes are also complemented by our Harvest of the Month Safari Lunch Lab stations, which offer an interactive learning experience, as well as samples of fresh produce for the students to try. More often than not, the students then go on to include that new item on their lunch tray that day!
Fun and Engaging Materials
Getting the word out about our Safari friends and their monthly nutrition messages is done in a number of visual and interactive ways:
- We have a brand new coloring book available that tells the Safari story while students can color in the different characters.
- We have a banner available that draws attention to the new characters and shows the Safari friends going to school.
- Stickers and clings are available to distribute throughout the school to keep the kids engaged.
- Menu templates are provided so that teachers and students can see the menu each month. These templates also follow the theme of the month.
- Various posters are provided to hang up at our schools to reinforce character messages.
- Whitsons posts animated Safari videos each month in order to reach students and parents on various platforms.
- Our lunch lab program is an interactive approach to learning about wellness.
With all of these fun and engaging materials and activities, students are sure to get into the theme of the month and learn about healthy nutrition!
Getting students not only involved, but excited, about nutrition is one of our main goals. The revamped Safari program offers a fun twist to learning that students, teachers and parents can all enjoy. Want to learn more about how Whitsons can bring nutrition awareness to your school community? Reach out to a member of our team today!