Humpday Health: Healthy food options and meal plans in schools


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — “We really encourage them to make those healthy, balanced choices through the nutrition education in our dining hall,” said Ana Forte, the regional wellness manager for Flik Independent School Dining.

A big part of any student’s day is their time in the cafeteria.

- Advertisement -

Not just because they get to interact with their friends; they’re also fueling their bodies to learn, but they need the right kind of fuel.

“Your brain is a muscle, and what you feed your brain affects how that muscle is going to work. So if you’re feeding it high sugary foods, then the brain is going to end up taking all that energy at once, but burning it very quickly,” said Forte.

Four years ago, Cape Fear Academy partnered with Flik Independent School Dining to assist in creating a healthy meal plan for their students.

A dietitian works with Cape Fear’s in-house chef to craft a menu that is nutritionally balanced, addresses various health concerns, and meets the diverse needs of the students.

“If a child has a well-balanced meal with a protein, a carbohydrate, fruits, and vegetables, they’re balanced, which means they’re coming into the classroom invigorated with energy and ready to learn,” said Becky Van Heukelom, a teacher at Cape Fear Academy.

Half the battle is providing the healthy food options. The other side of the coin is explaining to the kids why their nutrition matters.

“The nutrition education is especially important for the younger children, because if we can teach them at a younger age to make half of their plate fruits and vegetables, to eat the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates, they’re gonna take that with them through college, through the rest of their career,” said Forte.

Kickstarting a healthy lifestyle now could make all the difference when your child grows up.