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Letter to parents and guardians

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Have you taken a close look at your child’s school cafeteria menu?

If you have, you might have seen a mix of foods: salads, sandwiches… and maybe slushies. In fact, there are also burgers, fries, and hotdogs in some schools – things that have their place in a fast food restaurant, but probably not where your child eats nearly a third of their meals.

If you don’t want your child eating those foods every day, you probably pack a lunch. You might also have a school that only offers healthy options, which is excellent news – the challenge is that there is a wide variation in school menus, and it depends on where you live.

New Brunswick was one of the first provinces to ban the sale of foods with minimum nutritional value from vending machines and in fundraising. This is an important step, but school cafeterias should also be a model of healthy eating. While research shows that you as a parent or guardian have the strongest impact on children’s behaviours, we think you appreciate a number of healthy cafeteria choices.

Doctors and dietitians have teamed up to run a contest for parents like you. We’d like to know what’s really being served in New Brunswick’s school cafeterias. Send a photo of your child’s school menu to nbms@nb.aibn.com, or post it to the Care First Facebook page. (We will never release your name and be sure to black out the identifying information from your school). The point is not to name and shame, but to figure out what’s happening in New Brunswick’s schools – the good, bad, and the ugly!

In two weeks, we’ll randomly select a class at a school whose menu was submitted to receive a healthy lunch brought in by doctors and dietitians. We’ll also award a prize to a parent just like you, valued at $200, to help equip their children to live a healthier, active lifestyle. All you have to do is send us your cafeteria’s menu by email or post it on Facebook and you will be automatically entered into the draw.

Health-conscious schools and families are a powerful ally in improving the health of New Brunswickers and the future of our province. We thank all participants in advance for their help in raising awareness about this important issue. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/carefirstlasanteenpremier.

Sincerely,

Lynn Hansen, MD FRCPC
President, New Brunswick Medical Society

Vanessa MacLellan, RD
Co-Chair, New Brunswick Dietitians in Action