Coalbanks Health Challenge highlights Nutrition Month at the school

March is Nutrition Month, and Coalbanks Elementary School is looking to do its part.

The school is embarking on the Coalbanks Health Challenge throughout March, as principal Joey Gentile added a number of initiatives are in place to encourage students and their families to make healthy nutritional choices.

Class challenges will be held this month, as posters and displays will also be prominently placed throughout Coalbanks to remind students, and those visiting the schools, about some of the things they can do to positively impact their health.

First-place prizes will be up for grabs for classes, along with runner-up prizes. That phase of the challenge will run from March 12-23.

Then, during the last school day of the month, on Thursday March 29, the school will host a dance-a-thon, to promote physical activity and wrap up the event.

Lyndsey Spring, with Alberta Health Services, is helping co-ordinate the challenge.

“The Coalbanks administrative team wants to grow a culture of healthy eating in their new school, and as a Health Promotion Co-ordinator with Alberta Health Services whose job it is to help enhance healthy school communities, that is music to my ears,” said Spring.

Nutrition Month was the perfect opportunity to get the ball rolling, according to Spring, who offered up ideas, which ranged from broad-based school environment ideas, all the way down to classroom curriculum-tied nutrition activities.

Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month posters in hallways and weekly newsletters in March to parents are just a few of the initiatives Coalbanks will launch.

Alberta Milk, What’s in your Lunch? information, healthy lunch hallway displays and handouts, AHS Sugar Shocker and Healthy Drinks for Kids hallway displays and handouts are other March initiatives underway at Coalbanks.

In classrooms, Spring hopes to impact student learning through AHS School Nutrition Education lesson plans, and a Rainbow Connection fruit and veggie consumption tracking classroom activity, to help encourage an increase in fruit and veggie consumption in students. 

“I hope that the importance of healthy eating will be highlighted for students and families, and that Coalbanks will be able to build upon the momentum of this Nutrition Month initiative and continue to encourage healthy foods, including fruits and veggies, to be brought from home, and offered in the school,” said Spring.

She added the hope is healthy eating lessons will continue to be enhanced in the curriculum, based on the increase in knowledge about the resources available for teachers on the AHS Comprehensive School Website:

In terms of the easiest thing students and families can do that will make a difference, Spring said three themes are being promoted in the Dietitians of Canada newsletters that will go home to parents.

1. Cook with your kids! (Food has the potential to help us discover)

2. Share meals together as a family (Food has the potential to bring us together)

3. Prepare healthy snacks for you and your family (Food has the potential to fuel us)

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Date posted: March 8, 2018