The following guest blog is from a high school student from Yankton, South Dakota that was invited to discuss the implementation of USDA’s Smart Snacks in Schools rule at a meeting hosted by the Pew Charitable trusts last fall. The blog is part of our Cafeteria Stories series, highlighting healthy meals in schools and the impact of hard working school nutrition professionals who are dedicated to making the healthy choice the easy choice at schools across the country. We thank these students, parents, teachers, and school nutrition professionals for sharing their stories!
By: Patrick Binder, student, Yankton, South Dakota
Aristotle once said, “Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.” As a young person, I recognize the issues that face my peers. When the food service director at my school approached me about being on a wellness council, I was ecstatic. It was an opportunity presented by an adult to engage youth in decision-making. I continue to meet with the wellness council in my district, where we work to positively impact the wellness policy of my school.
I often heard complaints about the Smart Snacks standards with regard to in-school fundraising. It indeed presents a challenge, but it is accomplishable to create new fundraiser ideas without selling unhealthy foods. In my school, we held a school-wide bingo game, where students bought cards and played bingo against their classmates for prizes. We also had a beanbag toss tournament at our dance. These are just a couple of ideas among thousands. Students are some of the most innovative people in the world. To produce these ideas, one must simply ask!
In Washington, D.C. I met countless adults working to create positive change with regard to healthy lifestyles. Some things need the experience of an adult, but some tasks are better delegated to the imaginative minds of youth. With creativity and intelligence, all ages can work together to form a healthier generation.
Patrick Binder is a 17-year-old Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Ambassador from Yankton, South Dakota. The Alliance’s 20 youth leaders play an integral role in advising and providing a youth perspective as the Alliance strives to encourage young people across the nation to make healthy choices. Learn more about our Youth Ambassadors and lend your voice to help build a healthier next generation.