A Fresh Start for Health

A Fresh Start for Health

Happy New Year! Celebrating the beginning of the next 365 days is a pleasant custom that brings family and friends together. While I have never been a big resolution maker, I do like to take this time to think about fresh starts, do-overs and the opportunity for renewed focus on important topics. One of those important topics is our health. My thoughts today fall on the heels of one of the unhealthiest seasons of the year. I don’t know about you, but I did my fair share of unhealthy eating and treating this past holiday season. Time to refocus personally, and given my thoughts are always on student and staff health, time to refocus as an organization.

As we begin 2016, I will review my belief that our kids deserve to have bodies that are fueled by healthy foods and habits. To that end, I share my thoughts about smart snacking and the requirements of GFPS Policy 2510:
• GFPS must “do no harm” as we address the rise of childhood obesity and other chronic diseases. I think we contribute to this very real problem when we give empty, sugar-laden calories to students in the form of snacks and rewards.
• The food students get from us should contribute, not detract, from their wellbeing. Do we really think that a donut contributes to student wellbeing?
• The healthy choice should be the easy choice. The smart snack guidelines ensure that students don’t have to resist temptation. If we must provide food beyond breakfast and lunch, then the food choices we provide should be healthy. If food is necessary, it’s probably just as easy to pick up a bag of apples or a box of yogurts that meet the guidelines as it is to pick up a box of maple bars.
• Smart snacks can help make smart kids. Healthier children produce higher test scores, along with exhibiting better behavior and attendance. Better health is attributed to better diets.
• It’s the right thing to do. 90% of Americans believe that local schools should play a role in combating obesity.
• We can think differently about the food we give students and we should. I know we can be creative in finding ways to celebrate and reward students without food. If food is a necessary element, I know we can find healthy and satisfying offerings.
• We must continue our efforts to comply. There are tools to help you on the Student Wellness webpage: http://studentwellnessgfps.weebly.com/. Student health is too important to ignore this important policy.

The new year also gives staff the opportunity to focus on personal health. There are two new wellness challenges to help: a Walking Challenge and a Whole30 challenge. See the Employee Wellness webpage for more information: www.gfps.k12.mt.us/content/employee-wellness. Take a moment to get signed up today!

As we return from the break with recharged batteries, it is a perfect time to refocus on what matters. It’s a perfect time for fresh starts and do-overs. It’s perfect time to toast the New Year…Cheers to Healthy Habits in 2016!

Take care. Stay safe. Be well.