Dr. Robert Lewis is the director of nutrition services for the El Monte City School District located in El Monte, California.
Lewis and his department have worked hard to improve the school meals offered to students in the district. Each school provides students with several salad choices every week in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks. Students frequently give input on the meals service through taste tests that then determine school menus and Lewis also works with teachers to help them incorporate nutrition lessons into their standard curriculum. By working with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation—an organization founded by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity—Lewis also spearheaded initiatives that reached the school’s extended community. He holds monthly nutrition seminars for parents and actively promotes his “Bring Your Parent to Breakfast” program.
Over the past year, Lewis continued to roll out wellness initiatives with the support of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program. Now the cafeteria meals served in all 14 of his district’s schools are compliant with nutritional guidelines set by the Alliance. He has also visited more than 20 health food vendors in an effort to provide his students and faculty with the freshest possible ingredients. In 2010, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation honored seven El Monte schools with Bronze National Recognition Awards and three with Silver National Recognition Awards. In 2011, the district’s Rio Hondo K-8 school earned the National Gold Recognition Award, one of only three schools in the country to earn such an accolade.