Start Small by Changing a Few Items - Take Some Action

Challenge your school to buy just a few local, sustainable, or healthy items for the menu

Change has to start somewhere, even if it starts small. Sometimes starting small is the best way to convince staff and students that local, sustainable, or healthy food options can actually taste pretty good!

Easy ways to start small include things as simple as buying some local produce that’s in season from a local farmer or just changing a few menu items to healthier options. For example, promote 1% or fat-free milk in your school with this guide from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Check out the nutritional content of the milk you’re serving and see how much students’ health could be improved by just promoting this one menu item. These facts about milk in schools may answer some other questions and put to rest some commonly held myths, like that 1% milk has less nutritional value than whole milk.

For other ideas on small improvements you can make, check out California Project Lean.
The School Foods Kit by the Center for Science in the Public Interest also has some great ideas, including nutrition labeling, advice on procuring healthier snacks, and tips on eliminating trans fat and reducing salt.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, take advantage of this great guide for buying local sustainable items.

When you begin to integrate more healthy, local or sustainable foods into the cafeteria, educate students and staff along the way so that they can appreciate the changes being made. For example, you can create signs to display next to local, sustainable, or organic food items that educate staff and students about the positive effects that particular menu choice has on their health and the environment.

For information on actually partnering with a local farm or a distributor who can supply organic food, check out our Go the Extra Mile Section.