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 »
Today, USDA is furthering its commitment to improving the way that our youngsters eat by establishing science-based, common-sense standards for snacks sold in schools. The new “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards will positively impact more than 50 million American youngsters by ensuring that they are offered only healthier foods at school. Read more »
Here is a poster from the Dig In! curriculum that educators can post in the class room to encourage healthy eating.
Research shows that students with healthful eating patterns tend to do better in school, and it’s important that children begin learning about food and nutrition when they’re young. In support of that goal, the Food and Nutrition Service recently released three free sets of curriculum educators can use to empower children to make healthful food choices and develop an awareness of how fruits and vegetables are grown.
The Great Garden Detective Adventure curriculum for 3rd and 4th grades includes 11 lessons, bulletin board materials, veggie dice, fruit and vegetable flash cards, and ten issues of Garden Detective News for parents/caregivers. Kids will discover what fruits and vegetables are sweetest, crunchiest, and juiciest through investigations and fun experiences connecting the school garden to the classroom, school cafeteria and home. Read more »
SuperTracker is an interactive website used for creating customized healthy dietary plans that include required daily vitamins and minerals, and age and gender appropriate daily portions and calorie levels. Users can also tap tools called “Daily Food Plan,” “SuperTracker,” and “Food-a-Pedia” on this site. USDA photo by Stephen Ausmus.
I am pleased to report that over two million Americans are now using USDA’s SuperTracker, our online dietary planning and tracking tool!
Today, as never before, our awareness is heightened about the importance of healthy eating. Cookbooks and diet books reign supreme in the bookstores. There are entire TV channels devoted exclusively to food and, of course, stories of too many Twinkies, doughnuts and sodas provide constant fodder for the late night comedians. A day doesn’t go by that new food-related research isn’t released. Diet and health information abound on social media. Grocery stores are constantly adding new, healthier products. And communities across America are trying new and novel approaches to promote healthy eating. Read more »
Students across the country will celebrate International School Meals Day with special events, like international food taste testings. Lentils, like those pictured in this lentil stew, are high in protein and eaten in abundance throughout Mediterranean countries and West Asia.
They say that March comes in roaring like a lion and USDA certainly plans to start the month strong by doing something we’ve never done before. We have helped connect 28 schools in the United States and the United Kingdom that are leading the way in promoting healthy living to celebrate the very first International School Meals Day. Read more »
A young dad checks his shopping list as he passes by the produce section of a grocery store. With nearly one third of children in America at risk for preventable diseases, proper nutrition early in life can help set the stage for healthier dietary and lifestyle habits and future success in school. Photo provided by Thinkstock.
I recently had the pleasure of addressing a meeting marking the landmark first phase of the B-24 Project, a collaborative initiative between USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to develop dietary recommendations for children from birth to 24 months of age. As existing Federal dietary guidance is designed for those two years and older, the end result of the B-24 project will fill an important gap and provide consistency in maternal, infant and toddler nutrition advice given across government and external organizations. Read more »