NUTRITION AT SCHOOL - BLANCA VALDEZ
Blanca Valdez is a Kindergarten teacher at Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.
Born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, Blanca has over 12 years of experience in bilingual and dual-language education, early childhood, and curriculum development. As a teacher, she strives to create authentic learning experiences that align with content area standards and meet the diverse needs of all students.
Her international experience allows her to understand the cultural differences that influence individuals from different countries and the ability to foster quality and positive relationships with students, parents, and school partners from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Blanca is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Educational Technology. She likes reading, going on road trips, and spending time with her family and their dog in her spare time.
What is the function of school when it comes to child nutrition?
There is an undoubtable connection between nutrition and education. In order to learn, we must satisfy our physiological needs first. Well-nourished children are better equipped to learn. For that reason, schools’ cafeterias must provide healthy meals for students to ensure that they get the daily nutrients that they need. In Texas, school meals are regulated by the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy (TPSNP)
The policy applies to foods of minimal nutritional value (FMNV), and any type of candy and also limits the number of grams of fat and sugar served each week as well as restricting portion sizes for Texas schoolchildren.
What efforts are you as a teacher doing to guide children about a healthy relationship with food?
There’s a lot of literature available to discuss in class through a dialogic approach. When I try to activate previous knowledge or make a topic relevant and relatable to their lives, I share with them a lot of my personal choices and experiences and I usually talk about the things that I eat, the places I go or the things that I do after school. It’s recomforting to see them writing,
What are the common mistakes and misconceptions about food in a classroom?
I would say that not only in the classroom but in life in general we usually assume that if a child doesn’t want to eat certain foods, it’s a form of disrespect, without stopping to think that it might just be a sensory issue for them. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I personally have a sensory issue with yogurt, I don’t like the texture. I do make healthy choices most of the time, but I wouldn’t like other people to force me into eating something that I don’t like. I get the benefits that people get from yogurt from other sources.
What is a constructive way to guide students towards making good food choices?
Eating and exercise habits developed in childhood will affect our students’ health throughout their lives. We need to model for our kids what we expect from them. Actions speak louder than words, and they are watching us all the time, if I ask them to eat healthy but then they get to see me making poor choices, they are going to be getting mixed messages.