Snack Attack: How can students make healthy snack choices in schools?

Fifteen students from New Settlement’s Creative Leaders Afterschool Program created a fun, easy to digest, and educational primer on an under the radar issue in schools. The program, based at CMSP 327, participated in a five-week course with Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) this summer that was sponsored by Bronx Health REACH. Susanna Arellano, a teaching artist at CUP, led students through an exploration of the power structures and systems within the NYC Department of Education and an individual school building that impact nutrition and wellness in NYC schools. The students illustrated the main themes of each lesson using art techniques such as print making, photography and infographics. Their art was used to create an educational booklet on how students can make healthy snack choices in schools.

Check out the booklet: Snack Attack, How Can Students Make Healthy Snack Choices in Schools? The information in the booklet was informed by student-led research, so it’s by students and for students. Students took surveys of fellow students and community members to better understand what they consider to be healthy versus unhealthy foods, and which snack options should be available at school. They also photographed paper cut-outs of healthy food pasted onto bodega shelves next to junk food, reimagining a healthy bodega.

Students interviewed Stephen O’Brien, Director of the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services, Department of Education and Kelly Moltzen, Program Manager of the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Program at Bronx Health REACH to gain insight into where the food that is sold in schools comes from, how much does the food change between the farm and the student consumer, and who decides what foods get sold in schools.

These student advocates are not only informed, they have great ideas and strong opinions on how schools can do better. “I would make sure that there are no copycat snacks [in schools],” said student Nikosi Whyte. “I would make the food healthier and unprocessed.”

Community Food Action brought CUP to CMSP 327 in 2017, so we were thrilled they could return through a partnership with our ally Bronx Health REACH. The booklet will be distributed to community schools in the South Bronx to promote healthy snacking in schools. We look forward to sharing this resource with students, families, and school staff.

Source: Bronx Health REACH Blog