Healthy eating is essential to a child’s proper growth and development. Good eating habits are hard to come by these days, as evidenced by the fact that one-third of school-age children in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Many children also struggle with the opposite problem, not having enough to eat, and their limited food choices are often unhealthy.

Passionate about the issues of childhood obesity and poor nutrition, Chef Marc Vetri and his business partner, Jeff Benjamin, established the Vetri Foundation for Children (VFFC) in 2008. Their vision: Children who have healthy bodies and healthy minds have the opportunity to create healthy lives for themselves.

The Foundation is known for its Eatiquette program, a method for school lunch that centers on an interactive, family style environment. The program uses round tables to promote conversation and real silverware to create a true dining experience. At the beginning of the meal, the chef announces the menu to everyone, including what ingredients he used and how the food was prepared. Table captains, who rotate weekly, are in charge of bringing family-style portions of food to their table, as well as clearing dirty dishes after the meal. Captains – dressed in a special chef’s coat – also encourage their friends to try new foods. All the children help with clean up. After being nourished both in mind and body, the students are ready for whatever challenges the rest of the day holds.

Watch this video to see Eatiquette in action:

To read more about the Foundation and to find out how to bring the Eatiquette program to your school, visit www.vetrifoundation.org.

Do you think the Eatiquette program would benefit your school? Why or why not?