SAN JOSE, CA – The California Department of Education invites all schools to acknowledge November as "Good Nutrition Month." Teachers throughout the state will share valuable, lifelong lessons about the importance of healthy eating behaviors, but for many students, the challenge is finding good nutrition at home.
"Time is a major barrier to good nutrition for many families," says Tricia Zamora Employee Wellness Specialist at the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). "Nowadays, we are spending more time on the road, more time to get anywhere, the competition for time is tough. Families do not have much time to cook, shop, and do the basics."
A recent study conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, suggests that Americans spend on average 37 minutes per day preparing food.
"Often families who look for time-saving solutions rely on prepared or fast food, but fresh alternatives are easier than we think," says Zamora. "Organization is key. Make yourself and your family a priority and when you shop for groceries, plan what your week will look like before you shop, and fill your cart with foods that are nutrient-rich. Nutrient-rich foods include colorful fruits and vegetables, chose vitamin, mineral, and fiber-rich foods that are low in sugar and low in saturated fats and trans fatty acids."
"Beyond the obvious health benefits, countless studies have proven that students who have access to healthy foods perform better academically," says Sonia Gutierrez Supervisor of Student Health and Wellness for the SCCOE.
"Economic factors also play a big role in our choices, but good nutrition does not have to be expensive. There are websites, like EatFresh.org to help families plan low-cost nutrient-rich meals. Families who receive food assistance benefits can now use their benefits to shop at farmers markets, in addition to grocery stores," adds Zamora.
"Our website, sccoe.org, lists resources to help families learn to make good choices," adds Gutierrez.
# # #
The Santa Clara County Office of Education Employee Wellness Program is sponsored by Workforce & Organization Development and is committed to developing a healthier staff.
The Safe & Healthy Schools Department provides services to all stakeholders by cultivating meaningful partnerships and building capacity to ensure healthy and equitable outcomes for student success through data-driven multi-tiered systems of supports.
The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional and business services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The SCCOE serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The Office also provides curriculum support, staff development, and technology support and training directly to teachers and staff in schools countywide.