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Summer Food Service Program Meals with a Healthy Southern Twist

Mobile County’s Super Food Express bus travels from nine to 12 schools to ensure their children are fed healthy meals when school is out of session.

Mobile County’s Super Food Express bus travels from nine to 12 schools to ensure their children are fed healthy meals when school is out of session.

Fried chicken, sausage biscuits and fried okra are a thing of the past in the Mobile County (AL) Public School Service’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), explained Child Nutrition Director of MCPSS, Susanne Yates.

“The program is providing nutritional meals that are still southern in style but meet the new nutritional standards under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  We rely on southern staples such as steamed mixed vegetables, whole grain cereals and baked chicken.  Fried foods have been replaced with more nutritious fruits and vegetables and have not been a part of the meal service since 2006.”

Throughout Alabama, and the nation, nutrition directors are opting to serve children healthier meals in their summer meals programs. An example of a menu with a southern twist in Mobile’s program includes baked chicken tenders, sweet potato sticks, frozen fruit cups, fruit juice and fat free chocolate milk.  A more traditional meal may offer hamburger, whole grain sun chips, fresh broccoli, a frozen fruit cup and juice.

To help meet the new meal standards, MCPSS is planning to offer a variety of options, including refried beans on a tortilla with cheese and fajita chicken as a wrap.  They are also looking at making more traditional southern fare such as catfish nuggets and whole grain hushpuppies.

Mobile County has 19 summer meal sites where they are feeding children at elementary, middle and high school cafeterias.  The county also runs a Super Food Express Bus and vans (the first mobile SFSP in Alabama) that travel from nine to 12 schools Monday through Thursday.

It’s these important efforts that help provide nutritional assistance to the 21 percent of Mobile County residents who live in poverty and to the 18.2 percent experiencing food insecurity in the state.  To address this, an extensive SFSP campaign has been launched by the Alabama State Department of Education to reach out to communities through the development of BreakForAPlate.com.

To learn more about the federal Summer Food Service Program, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program-sfsp and see how USDA is supporting a healthier next generation.

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