Local farmers have teamed together to build a healthier student body at Jacksonville High School.
JHS and 31 other Illinois schools were recently awarded Dollars for Dairy Grants, which encourage students to choose dairy foods during school meals.
Nutrition Educator Joyce Fikri says the Dollars for Dairy program has been offered to local schools for the past three years.
“It allows schools to receive funding, so they can offer healthy foods for students at school. It includes milk, yogurt and cheese. Schools apply for funds and can receive up to $2,000 in order to increase healthy offering during breakfast and lunch time,” says Fikri.
Fikri says the grant has been very successful at helping schools increase the “health and wellness” of students.
“We’ve had a number of schools that have started smoothie programs and breakfast in the classroom. We’ve had schools that have increased dairy offering by purchasing refrigeration, which allows them to offer milk, yogurt and fruit parfaits to students,” says Fikri.
Fikri says the overall goal of the program is to introduce a variety of healthy options for students.
“We are interested in encouraging students to make sure they get three servings of dairy a day. Dairy foods are packed with nutrition. Things like calcium, protein and other nutrients in dairy foods are critical for our diet and being healthy.”
The Dollars for Dairy program is a yearly grant.