public schools across Hawaii
menus - now
Sign the Petition!
Join the coalition of parents, students, and community members in asking that Hawaii's Department of Education serve healthier, balanced meals to all their students by signing the petition below.
Our children deserve to be served the healthiest possible meals at school.
And we know that the Hawaii Department of Education can do better.
Our children are eating too much meat and eggs, too many over-processed products, and not enough fruits and vegetables. This kind of imbalanced diet contributes to 678,000 deaths in the US annually and causes 1 in 3 Americans to live with a preventable chronic illness.
Because food environment is the primary influence of food choice - especially in schools where the options are pre-decided for students, for up to 2 meals a day - our Department of Education has a responsibility to create the healthiest possible menus for our children.
Nutrition science is clear. Hawaii school menus can and must make these common sense changes.
That's why our coalition of concerned parents, students, and community members is asking Hawaii's Department of Education leadership to commit to reducing the amount of disease-promoting foods on their menus and replace them with the things we know make kids grow strong and healthy: fresh fruits and vegetables, lean plant proteins, and whole grains.
The leading causes of preventable disease, chronic illness, and premature death in the United States are all related to diet and poor nutrition—diseases like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and even some cancers. Children born today have a shorter predicted life expectancy than their parents as a result of skyrocketing diet-related diseases. We must do better for our children—but the time to act is now.
Reduce the amount of foods high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and sodium like meat, egg, dairy, and other processed products
Eliminate processed meats like hot dogs, pepperoni pizza, sausage and egg sandwiches, chicken nuggets and fish sticks
Replace unhealthy menu items with foods rich in nutrients and high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, plant proteins, and whole grains
Diversify protein options to include plant sources by serving a warm, meatless entree at every meal
Hawaii is already suffering the consequences of imbalanced menus.
The problem: Hawaii's Department of Education menus don't reflect a balanced diet.
18% of adolescents and adults in Hawaii eat enough fruits and vegetables
Over 25% of adults in Hawaii live with diabetes or prediabetes, with many more either undiagnosed or untreated
35% of adults have high cholesterol and 28.5% of adults tested in Hawaii have high blood pressure
Apart from lung cancer, the deadliest cancers across Hawaii are all linked to diet and nutrition
Too many products high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and sodium like meats, eggs, and full fat dairy products
Too many ultra-processed foods made with disease-promoting refined grains and processed meats
Too few health-promoting fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
Imbalanced menus make it harder for students to get the nutrients they need to learn, grow, and excel.
Independent public health organization Balanced reviewed the healthfulness of the menus served at Hawaiian schools and gave them an "F" grade—a failing grade, with huge consequences for our children's health. In their analysis, Balanced found that the Hawaiian DOE offered menus that featured:
health organizations recommend balanced food environments that promote increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, plant-proteins, and whole grains and reduced consumption of foods high in cholesterol, saturated fats, sodium, and excess calories.
Meet some of the people behind this effort for Hawaiian students' health.
As a parent of a baby and toddler in Fairfax, I looked up the lunch menus of my kids' future schools one day out of curiosity, and I was surprised to see so many unhealthy ingredients: monoglycerides, DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate, hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup - and that was just in the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Unhealthy processed foods are so harmful for our bodies, and our kids deserve better!