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kids eating lunch at school Kids at Cub Run Elementary School in Penn Laird, Virginia, eat healthier lunches thanks to NAC, the Nutrition Advisory Council, which is made up of fellow students from the fifth grade. (Photo courtesy Anatasia Webb)

Have a Snack with NAC

Student-led group makes healthy changes in school

By Anastasia Webb | February 25 , 2011

Fifth graders are helping their friends become healthier by joining a program called NAC. NAC stands for Nutrition Advisory Council. This program benefits children at Cub Run Elementary School in Penn Laird, Virginia. Made up of students at Cub Run, the committee wants to help kids be healthier eaters.

"Students, parents, and school staff are encouraged to unite to promote and educate students about the importance of good nutrition and exercise," says Allie Crawford, Cub Run Elementary's Food Service Manager. She meets once a month with a group of 24 students to plan healthy menus using the Food Guide Pyramid.
 
The NAC members help with food surveys and menu planning. They taste test new food items and help with the school's health fair. Sanitary practices and food and equipment safety are discussed at their regular meetings. The students also help serve food and new items to their peers.

The United States Department of Agriculture encourages schools to create healthier environments by promoting nutrition and physical activity. Gerald Lehman, Director of Food & Nutrition Services for Rockingham County Public Schools, decided that the schools in his district should form a nutrition committee in each school.  
 
NAC has changed the school's food by adding more fresh fruits and vegetables and more low fat products. The school now uses wheat flour in its homemade buns and rolls, serves fresh or steamed veggies every day, and uses only fat free or 1 per cent milk.
 
Fifth grader Ava A., Cub Run's student council president, thinks NAC is helpful.

"I think it keeps our food healthy and not junky, and has less calories," she said. "It helps us stay healthy."

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