The Nutrition council at West is where members advocate for health, wellbeing, and academic success of students by educating stakeholders and empowering its members.
According to the director of Nutrition services of the school district, Jane Hentzler, “student members need to examine their schools nutrition program; identify which aspects of the program are liked and well received and those that are not.”
In school, student members serve as a liaison between students, school nutrition professionals and the administration. “The entire council serves as a communication bridge between students, administrators, school food service personnel, faculty, and the community” says Hentzler.
The council has meetings every month, and members are specially chosen by the school’s cafeteria manager, “We meet for taste testing every month. This is a great way to survey how much or how little the students like a particular product before we introduce it to the school nutrition program menus” says Hentzler. A nutrition council menu is made every month with input from all members and feedback members bring from their student body.
Aside from their special duties and jobs, the club also has some fun.
Hentzler says, “We do nutrition activities. Signing up to Play 60, Nutrition Bingo, Name that fruit or veggie games, etcetera. And we talk about upcoming events and how the schools will celebrate. National School Lunch Week, Red Ribbon Week, National School Breakfast Week, National Soup Week, National Pancake Week, and other stuff like that.”
The council also benefits the community outside the cafeteria, “Every year we try to do several drives to help out our community. Food drives for LS Social Services, items for Hope House, items for pet rescues and shelters, clothes drives. Each school can decide what they would like to do and as a group we do the food drive and make posters for social services,” says Hentzler.
Being in the club, also can make a positive change in a member’s eating habits. Hentzler explains, “We help students learn how they can improve their eating patterns and physical activity levels by making small and gradual changes. We provide opportunities to learn how to apply nutrition and wellness to their everyday lives.”
Current Nutrition Council member sophomore Reggie Harris expresses, “I joined because I was asked to be a part of it. I think since I buy lunch and snacks from there I should be able to have some input on the the school should have and not have.”
Even if a student is not in the Nutrition Council, they can still help West’s program by spreading the word about nutrition and eating healthy. They can also contact a member of West’s cafeteria food and give their feedback so it can be brought up by that member in the next meeting.
Leanda DeDonder, the current sponsor of West’s nutrition council says, “I hope to have 2-3 students from each grade level on the Nutrition Council. I hope they will be honest and vocal about what they think of the items they’re trying. I also hope they will talk to other students in the school about what they think about the school food and bring that information back to the Nutrition Council.
I also hope that they’ll have suggestions on new things we can try that they may have had somewhere else. I want to make sure what we are serving during breakfast and lunch is good and I need feedback from the students to know if and what changes I need to make.”