SunflowerCindysquash2girlsgrapesSalad Lady
   Novato Live Well Network: Growing a Healthy Community from the Ground Up!

(415) 897-2302

Novato Live Well Network
P.O. Box 1647
Novato, CA 94948-1647




FALL 2010: It's time to think about our children's school lunch room experience again. If you are interested in learning what's happening in the lunch rooms in the Novato Unified School District and throughout Marin County and how to get involved, contact: Veronica Valero 415-897-2302.

This program was piloted in collaboration with Miguel Villarreal, Director of NUSD Food And Nutritional Services (FANS). “Lunch Buddies” are volunteer adults who come during the lunch period to talk to the children about food. We ask them what they like and don’t like. We let them sample food and give us their opinion. We take surveys. We talk about nutrition and it’s relationship to a healthy body and learning. We assist the staff as needed.  We assess and provide feedback to Miguel Villarreal & FANS Staff. We work collaboratively with all parties. And, we do it without negative judgment, rather with lots of positive encouragement.


  • To learn what food children like and dislike that is served in the School Lunch program to eliminate waste.
  • To engage children in discussions about food likes & dislikes, nutrition, choices, etc. to open minds and open mouths to new healthier food choices.
  • To provide sample food to children to expose them to new tastes, to get feedback, and to maintain open communication about nutrition and nutrition choices. 
  • To learn about challenges and limitations facing FANS and FANS staff and provide the information to the larger community to seek solutions.
  • To develop other programs as the need and/or opportunities arise to support nutrition and wellness in the school.
  • To work collaboratively to educated, support, and maintain positive communication between children, FANS Staff, Administrators, School Staff, Parents, and the larger community. 

PAST EVENT: "Eat Lunch With Your Child Day" at Pleasant Valley
Pleasant Valley Parents were invited to come to Pleasant Valley Elementary on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007 from 11:50 AM to 12:50 PM to eat with their children and experience their "lunchroom experience." Afterwards, the parents, heard about the vision for school lunches and contribute their ideas during this discussion featuring Miguel Villarreal, Director of NUSD Food & Nutritional Services (FANS). We had a raffle drawing and winners got dinner for two at one of two great restaurants:  Jennie Low’s of Novato, and Risibisi of Petaluma, or a $75 gift certificate to Week of Dinners at Rolling Hills.

Parents paid $3.50 to eat a choice of chicken taco salad (See Recipe) or baked chicken with Spanish rice, fruit and choice of drink (milk, juice or water.)  Parents had the option of bring their own brown bag lunch. see  Flyer for more info.

FANS Department:
Go to: Novato Unified School District's FANS webpage or call FANS at (415) 892-2115.


  • Parent Survey: What are your thoughts on school lunch?
  • Local Schools Lunch Tours: Visit local schools that are making changes in the lunch room.
  • Mary E. Silveira Elementary School Lunch Tour(in Marinwood): When it comes to the lunch room, this school is a leader in our community. The school has a lunch room recycling program, a vermicompost, chickens, a pond, and a school garden - all of which are tied to the curriculum. There are student waste managers who assist with the lunchtime recycling each day. Lunch recess also takes place before lunch so that students are hungry and do not rush through their meal to get to recess. Minor changes with positive results. Lunch is provided by NUSD-Food And Nutritional Services (FANS). On January 9, 2007 toured Mary E. Silveira Elementary. We observed lunch being served, talked to the principal and parent volunteers, and saw the positive effects "rethinking school lunch" has had on the children. See Pictures of Kids in action!. On February 2, 2007 Principals and PTA & Leadership parents were invited another tour at Mary E. Silveira. See the article the Marin Independent Journal wrote about this event (This was a Novato Live Well Sponsored event).
    • A positive difference: One major change this school has made is switching lunch recess to take place before lunchtime. Faculty and staff have found children are able to focus on eating lunch rather than waiting for the whistle to blow so they can run out and play. Students also enter the classroom calmer without bringing in recess problems into the classroom. For a study on the effectiveness of this switch: see "Analyzing the Effects of the Reverse Lunch Schedule on
      Student Nutrition and Performance
      " a report done at School Leadership Centre at the University of British Columbia:
  • Rethinking School Lunch: Time to think outside the box...Interested in helping? Contact Veronica Valero: 415-897-2302..


Practice the 5-Rs
of Lunchroom Recycling
See Helpful Flyer ->

And if you
"Pack it in, Pack it out!"
See newsletter text to teach ->

Novato Advance Article:
"Healthful school lunches: a difficult balance"

Make A Difference
Pleasant Valley Elementary School
Lunch Buddies


Sample Survey Results>
One-Item Template Survey>
Survey Results Template Calculation


Harvest of the Month
Educational Classroom Resources on Fruits & Vegetables


SR Garden

NUSD FANS Director :
Miguel Villarreal
NUSD Wellness Policy >


NUSD FANS Central Kitchen
See What's on the Menu >

School lunch recipes to make at home:
Chicken Caesar Salad >
Chicken Taco Salad >
Tuna Salad >

NEW Fest

A Marin IJ Article
School Lunch - Changes >

From Food Management Magazine
See end of article on "Gleaned Product"
to read about NUSD-FANS Partnership
with Marin Organic
Working in Collaboration>

A Marin IJ Article:
Food & High School Students >

San Francisco Chronicle:
Obesity War's latest battlefront:
The school cafeteria
Featuring NUSD-FANS
Obesity War in Schools >

PBS: Josh Kornbluth Show
Oct. 23, 2006
Interview with Miguel Villarreal
on school nutrition
See video-stream
Josh Kornbluth Video-stream >
scroll down to picture of Mr. Villarreal and click on video-stream link.