Wellness in the Schools, Inc.
Building Healthy Communities
November 2016 – December 2017
In New York City, one in five kindergarten students and one in four students from low-income families are obese.
Childhood obesity impacts children’s long-term health, as well as their academic performance. To address this public health issue, Wellness in the Schools (WITS), in partnership with the New York City Office of SchoolFood, developed Alternative Menu (AM). The AM program enables schools to remove processed food items and replace them with more scratch-cooking, fresher ingredients, and healthier menu options such as salad bars. However, this program can be difficult to implement without proper training of cafeteria staff and student engagement. Of the 1,700 schools in New York City, only 150 offer AM.
NYSHealth awarded WITS a modest grant to host a pilot culinary boot camp (CookCamp) for SchoolFood cafeteria workers. CookCamp is designed to train cafeteria staff and other food service professionals on the skills needed to implement AM and prepare and serve nutritious, high-quality meals that appeal to students.