At Athlos, we embrace the fact that a substantial school nutrition program provides more than just food at lunch. Like all parts of the school day, school lunch is an educational opportunity; the opportunity to learn about foods, as well as socially from one another.
As part of our Healthy Body pillar, we put a big focus on school nutrition. Our school nutrition specialist, Ian Woods, is dedicated to providing the best possible nutrition options and education in Athlos schools because of the many benefits of eating well.
“Healthy eating not only boosts concentration, allowing students to remain focused on their studies, but well-nourished bodies will have the energy to perform in all of the physical activities we do here at Athlos,” Woods said.
Athlos Academies participates in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, because we want the best possible resources available for our students and their nutrition. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers these programs and provides a great number of resources.
“Healthy eating habits that begin during childhood and adolescence translate to lifelong healthy eating habits,” Woods said. “Specifically, participation in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program has been associated with at least a 25 percent decrease in adolescent obesity.”
The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program requires us to keep our total calories, saturated-fat, and sodium within a very narrow range based on grade-level. On top of that, our schools offer fruit and vegetable choices that may not be available in a lot of households every day.
While many question the nutritional benefits of school lunches, Woods is working hard to change that thought process for parents of Athlos students, and encourage school lunch buy-in.
“We’re working to develop more student interest in our school nutrition program by providing delicious healthy food and the promise of a full salad bar available to all of our students eating at our schools,” Woods said. “If we are able to establish healthy eating habits and nutritious food choices when the kids are young, there is a far greater chance that their food preferences will travel with them throughout their long lives.”
Woods graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in family consumer sciences majoring in dietetics. He is currently a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and sitting for the accreditation exam next month to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.