STEM Education: Powered by Healthier Snacks

Contributed by: Anne Valik, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

We’ve all been there.  It’s the afternoon – lunch is a distant memory – and even though you are working on a project that you are jazzed to complete, your brain.just.won’t.focus. It is the 4:00 PM slump, and the only thing on your mind is, “What can I have as a snack to reboot?” A deadline looms so you opt for whatever is on hand – the easy-to-access snack.

Student with snack barThe same goes for young people. And given the equity challenges of STEM education – and thus the critical importance of ensuring that all students have the support they need to be successful in STEM – making the healthy choice the easy choice matters.

After all, good nutrition benefits youth, as well as us educators, in a big way. From increased focus and energy, to better grades, improved behavior and attendance, nutrition makes a notable impact on learning. If we want STEM education to stick, our young people need healthier snacks.

At their core, health and STEM education are equity issues. By addressing these two themes together, we can ensure as many young people as possible – including girls and other youth traditionally underrepresented in STEM education – have the opportunity to thrive in their STEM learning environment. That is why the National Girls Collaborative Project is collaborating with our team here at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization working to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier kids. Here is a link to our recent collaborative resource guide, STEM and Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity.

We know that hands-on STEM education, like citizen science, is the kind of engagement that can inspire STEM careers, but we also know that inquisitive practices and curious exploration can only begin if young people are properly fueled.Healthier Generations

Nonetheless, over the years we’ve heard from numerous programs that have experienced frustration in purchasing healthier snacks and beverages for their students. From navigating healthier product identification, to managing complex purchasing processes (including order size requirements, storage limitations, remote store locations, staff bandwidth and more), we know that shopping for healthier items can be challenging. It is our hope that the new resource that we’ve developed in partnership with Amazon Business, the Healthier Generation Store, can help make that healthier snack time vision a reality for all.

The Store is the first verified online marketplace featuring products vetted to meet the National AfterSchool Association Healthy Eating Standards. It features business-only pricing, free nationwide standard shipping on eligible orders of $25+, and more –  helping to reduce purchasing obstacles faced by programs each day, no matter the program’s budget or zip code.

We can all get behind the idea of healthier snack time – after all, STEM-skills development can thrive when children are given the right meals and snacks to excel. And with the Healthier Generation Store, it’s easier to make that healthier choice the obvious choice. To learn more and get started, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org/Amazon today.