Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Turkey Tips Step 3: Let’s (Finally) Get Cooking

Drawing of fully cooked Thanksgiving turkey set on the dinner table.

It’s here. You’ve been planning for this since the moment you packed away your summer flip-flops – Thanksgiving Day. After safely handling and preparing your turkey, you’ve got hungry guests headed your way expecting a grand feast, so it’s time to start cooking. Read more »

What Most People Don’t Realize is Behind Their Thanksgiving Dinner

After composting, the leftover animal materials and waste are no longer recognizable. Instead, they become healthy, organic fertilizer. NRCS photo courtesy Analia Bertucci.

After composting, the leftover animal materials and waste are no longer recognizable. Instead, they become healthy, organic fertilizer. NRCS photo courtesy Analia Bertucci.

You can picture it now, can’t you? The familiar sounds of a parade or football game playing on the TV while little ones chase each other through the house. More friends and family members than you can ever remember in one place at the same time. And the aroma … those delightful smells that let you know it’s a holiday.

You see the table surrounded by mismatched chairs, dinnerware and cutlery. And on that table, neatly decorated with the rich colors of the season, sit bowls filled with traditional fare and in the center of it all, the pièce de résistance – the golden brown bird around which the entire meal is built. Turkey. The year’s most prestigious meal! Read more »

Thanksgiving Is a Great Time to Start Reducing Food Waste with Friends & Family

On average, these polts will take 4 to 5 months to make weight.  It takes a lot of natural resources, energy, labor, and love to raise the estimated 46 million turkeys that will be consumed this Thanksgiving.  Show your appreciation by making sure you waste as little food as possible. Photo courtesy of USDA.

On average, these polts will take 4 to 5 months to make weight. It takes a lot of natural resources, energy, labor, and love to raise the estimated 46 million turkeys that will be consumed this Thanksgiving. Show your appreciation by making sure you waste as little food as possible. Photo courtesy of USDA.

Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate all that is good in our lives and to spend it in the company of friends and family while enjoying great food.  It is also a time to reflect on the bounty of our food supply.  Each year, as I put away the leftovers from my Thanksgiving dinner, I marvel at the abundance.

I also can’t avoid pausing to consider how much food is wasted in this country.

USDA estimates that on average, American consumers waste about one-fifth of food that is available to them, equivalent to about $371 per person annually.  That’s enough money to buy about 21 whole turkeys for each person in the country. Read more »

Circle of Nations School Promotes Healthier Lifestyles for Their Children

Students at Circle of Nations School gathered vegetables that they grew in the school’s garden.  They used the kale and cabbage in a “Healthy Choices” cooking class.

Students at Circle of Nations School gathered vegetables that they grew in the school’s garden. They used the kale and cabbage in a “Healthy Choices” cooking class.

In November, USDA pays tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans by observing Native American Heritage Month.  Today, an important part of Native American culture includes working towards a healthier lifestyle for Native American people.  The following guest blog demonstrates the wide range of efforts that tribes are making to support a healthier next generation.  We thank the Circle of Nations School for sharing their story.

By Lise Erdrich, School Health Coordinator, Circle of Nations School

Circle of Nations School (CNS) is an inter-tribal off-reservation boarding school in Wahpeton, N.D., chartered under the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate and funded by the Bureau of Indian Education. CNS serves American Indian youth in grades 4 through 8.

CNS is a 2012 recipient of the HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award, a Green Ribbon School Award, and of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant. CNS was the first Green Ribbon School in the state of North Dakota and the entire Bureau of Indian Education system. These and related initiatives promote healthy environment, physical activity and nutritional improvement points including fresh, locally sourced food. Read more »

Connecting Schoolchildren to Healthy Food Choices

Concannon chats with Takoma Park Middle School’s eighth grade Family and Consumer Science class, where students examine food labeling and packaging.

Concannon chats with Takoma Park Middle School’s eighth grade Family and Consumer Science class, where students examine food labeling and packaging.

Last month, schools all across the nation celebrated National School Lunch Week, honoring the importance of healthy meals to education.  I was able to join in one of these celebrations right here in the national Capital area, and the great things I saw at Takoma Park (Md.) Middle School are still fresh in my mind.

I was already aware of the commitment that the Division of Nutrition and Food Services of Montgomery County Public Schools has made to serving healthy meals, as well some of the important strides they have taken across this large district.  But on this trip, I wanted to see first-hand how Takoma Park Principal Alicia Teeny and her teaching staff connect children in the classroom to healthy food choices. Read more »

USDA and Partners Build a Healthier Next Generation!

Through partnership, FNS and NFSMI will work with school food authorities to identify challenges and provide nuanced resources to promote a healthier school day.

Through partnership, FNS and NFSMI will work with school food authorities to identify challenges and provide nuanced resources to promote a healthier school day.

As schools continue to move forward with serving healthier meals to tens of millions of our nation’s school children, there is a natural need for a model of sharing best practices. To provide that support, our partner, the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI), will pilot the Team Up For Success Training Initiative in the Food and Nutrition Service’s Southeast Region.

Through the initiative, schools will participate in a tailored training workshop and then enter into a peer-to-peer mentoring program designed to address their individual needs and resources.  The pilot will be conducted with about 48 school food authorities to help schools implement the updated meal requirements while maintaining financial stability and student participation.

We appreciate all that the NFSMI is doing to help build a healthier next generation.

By Katie Wilson, PhD, SNS Executive Director National Food Service Management Institute, The University of Mississippi

Team Up for School Nutrition Success is an exciting new initiative of collaboration between USDA and the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) providing a peer to peer mentoring program for school nutrition directors. This first pilot in the Southeast Region includes over 100 attendees invited to discuss challenges, identify best practices, and learn about free resources available to them from a variety of allied organizations. Read more »