Moments: School Lunchroom Activities in Chicago Public Schools
OBJECTIVE: To identify nutrition related health knowledge among high
school students while simultaneously provide nutrition education/ awareness
in a non-formal setting.
During the lunch periods, a table is designated within the high school
lunchrooms/cafeterias as a “Nutrition and Health” booth.
Each month a nutrition theme with a related activity is selected and
presented to the students. Nutrition Tips and related information
are made available as handouts. Poster Boards are utilized as visual
aids and to attract the students’ attention. The activities
are designed to be highly interactive and to last about 5 minutes.
The students’ normally answer a series of questions and the
answers are collected or recorded. If needed, students may take longer
to complete the activity or remain for further discussion with the
Nutrition Specialist. Once the student has completed the activity,
the correct information is immediately presented. Incentives are provided
for participation. Incentives are in the form of healthy snacks (i.e.,
apples, fruit smoothies, trail-mix bags), and items that promote healthy
lifestyles (i.e., organ-wise and mini-sports calendars, sport key
bottles). All the activities are completely voluntary.
(1) Test Your Portion Knowledge-10 questions of serving sizes
(2) Food For Thought: Fiber Facts-10 questions of fiber content in
(3) Take The 5 A Day Challenge-A one day re-call on fruit or vegetable
(4) 5 A Day: How Hard Can it Be? – Preference and interest question
on fruit and vegetables
(5) More Than Just Your Weight – Self-report of weight &
height vs. discovering actual and personal body composition
The number of students reached via the “lunchroom activities”
is significant considering that time is spent on an individual basis.
Nutrition education within the lunchrooms has been well received by
both students and school staff. Moreover, it can be concluded that
students are interested in nutrition and health information and are
receptive in eating fresh fruits and vegetables when made available.
In relation, awareness continues to increase among student on specific
health and nutrition related issues that may or may not be addressed
in the normal academic curriculum.