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Posts tagged: Child Nutrition

In Case You Missed It: Study Finds Offering Healthier School Snacks Helps Kids Make Healthier Choices at Home

Last week, researchers from Michigan State University, Oakland University, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Education came out with a new study showing that when schools offer healthier snacks in vending machines and a la carte lines, students’ overall diets improve. Students in schools that offered healthier snacks consumed more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and not just at school—at home, too.

This is encouraging news for schools and school nutrition professionals as they begin implementing the Smart Snacks in School standards, which will ensure that students are offered healthier food options during the school day. Smart Snacks in School requires more whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and leaner protein, while still leaving plenty of room for tradition, like homemade birthday treats and bake sale fundraisers. Read more »

Cheney Public Schools Puts USDA Planning Grant to Work

Cheney Public Schools (CPS) is a 7-school district in rural eastern Washington State. Of the 4,135 students who attend CPS, more than 2,000 are eligible for free and reduced price school lunch, and more than 30 percent are obese. Several years ago, realizing the need to improve child nutrition, the district began to take some modest steps to that end, including initiating a scratch cooking program and participating in a regional childhood obesity prevention initiative.

Upon receiving a USDA Farm to School Planning Grant in November 2012, CPS developed an eight-member team, comprised of school district officials and community partners, to lead their efforts. The group, which meets every four to six weeks, has done extensive research to determine the most effective path forward and has leveraged relationships with a range of partners to accomplish a great deal in a short period of time. Read more »

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with MiPlato

The 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series is available in English and Spanish.

The 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series is available in English and Spanish.

Para la versión en español de este blog, por favor visite: http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/09/25/celebre-el-mes-nacional-de-la-herencia-hispana-con-miplato

National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated annually from September 15th to October 15th, pays tribute to the history, culture and traditions of Americans with Hispanic ancestry.

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month and increase awareness about MiPlato – the Spanish complement to MyPlate – the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is launching new resources for Spanish-speaking audiences.  Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov and click on En Español to find the latest addition to the 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series, Disfrute Comidas de Varias Culturas (Enjoy Food from Many Cultures).  The new tip sheet celebrates ways to prepare healthier foods to meet diverse ethnic and cultural preferences. Read more »

Turning the Tide on Early Childhood Obesity

CDC Study finds Obesity rates among low-income preschoolers declining in many states. Credit: CDC

CDC Study finds Obesity rates among low-income preschoolers declining in many states. Credit: CDC

Here at USDA, we’re on a mission to help all of our nation’s children have the best possible chance at a healthy life.  So, we’re very encouraged by some recent news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):  the rate of obesity among low-income pre-school children appears to be declining for the first time in decades.

The declining rates show that our collective efforts are helping to gain ground on childhood obesity, particularly among some of the more vulnerable populations in our country.  Low-income children are often at a disadvantage when it comes to getting the food they need to grow up healthy, which is why USDA’s nutrition programs and resources are so vital. Read more »

Farm to School Is An Important Ingredient in the Recipe For Success in Purvis, Mississippi

Farm to school programs are mutually beneficial – kids get fresh fruits and vegetables and farmers build a new customer base.

Farm to school programs are mutually beneficial – kids get fresh fruits and vegetables and farmers build a new customer base.

“Our farm to school program helps our district offer more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis,” said Julie Hamilton, school food service director of operations/training for Lamar County Schools in Purvis, Miss.  “Being exposed to more choices, the young students will learn to like them and make healthier food choices over their lifetimes.”

Offering more fruits and vegetables to students is part of the new requirements recently passed by Congress to improve nutrition in the nation’s schools.  Utilizing a farm to school approach – where locally sourced products are featured in the school cafeteria – is an effective way to make it easier to meet these new standards and help the students at the same time. Read more »

Kids’ State Dinner Celebrates Good Nutrition with MyPlate

Judges, including Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let's Move! (second from right), and Robert Post, Associate Executive Director, USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (fourth from right), score lunch recipes submitted by kids from around the country. Winning recipes were served at the White House for the Kids' State Dinner on July 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Judges, including Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let's Move! (second from right), and Robert Post, Associate Executive Director, USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (fourth from right), score lunch recipes submitted by kids from around the country. Winning recipes were served at the White House for the Kids' State Dinner on July 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

On July 9th, budding young chefs gathered at the White House for the Let’s Move! Kids’ State Dinner, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama, to celebrate their culinary accomplishments in the Epicurious “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge”Let’s Move!, Epicurious, the U.S. Department of Education, and USDA collaborated on the challenge and honored the 54 finalists who created the winning recipes at last week’s celebration. Contestants were challenged to come up with healthy recipes using USDA’s MyPlate food icon for inspiration.  The winning recipes reflected the appealing symbol, with healthy amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy.

I was honored to be USDA’s advisor and a judge for this year’s competition, and attend the Kids’ State Dinner with the winners. Here, at the USDA, we are proud to see this national example of how MyPlate is helping children make healthy choices when preparing and consuming food.  Events such as this encourage other children to adopt good eating patterns and pursue healthy lifestyles. Read more »