School lunch staff and students enjoy the new school lunch menu created to meet the new standards at the Yorkshire Elementary School in Manassas, VA on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
USDA recently announced its “Smart Snacks in School” proposal that will help to ensure all foods and beverages sold in schools contribute to a healthy diet. The proposal offers a common sense approach to healthy eating by promoting the availability of snack foods with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients, while preserving time-honored school traditions like occasional bake sales and birthday treats.
Parents and teachers work hard to instill healthy habits, and our proposal reinforces that hard work by ensuring that kids are offered only tasty, nutritious food options at school. Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, this year students across the country began getting healthier school meals with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy based on scientific recommendations for nutrition. Through the Act, Congress also directed USDA to set nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, including vending machines, school snack bars and a la carte, as a complement to the new, healthy standards for breakfast and lunch. Read more »
SuperTracker turned one on December 22, 2012. In one year over 1.6 million people have registered to use SuperTracker.
After an exciting and successful year reaching well over a million users, SuperTracker celebrates its first birthday! With growing public interest in nutrition and health, we found that SuperTracker is the online tool many people have been waiting for to help them adopt healthful eating habits; something that is top of mind this time of year SuperTracker is an easy-to-use, tool for tracking food intake, physical activity and weight – for free!! If you have a 2013 New Year’s resolutions to eat better, lose weight, or exercise more, then you need to be using SuperTracker. Read more »
A new report by the Economic Research Service reveals that between 1998 and 2006, U.S. households spent an average of just 0.5 percent of their food budgets on vegetables, excluding potatoes, compared with the USDA-recommended 7 percent. (Photo: Thinkstock)
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Many of our diets aren’t what they should be. Americans eat fewer fruits and vegetables than Federal nutrition guidance recommends, and we over-consume fats, added sugars, and refined grains. Health professionals warn us that the less-healthful food choices are showing up on our waistlines and in our health, contributing to increasing cases of overweight and obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Knowing how far we stray from good dietary patterns, and whether the diets of certain segments of the population are more misaligned, can help in designing more effective programs and consumer education. Read more »
On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government.
In addition to reaching over 1.4 million users, USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion now has something else to be proud of regarding its state-of-the-art SuperTracker. On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government, along with nine other awardees from local, state, and Federal governments. The awards were presented to these government teams for their extraordinary accomplishments and significant contributions to the performance of their agencies. Read more »
The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) and its partners use a coordinated messaging approach to amplify the reach of themes and nutrition messages related to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Themes include Foods to Increase, Foods to Reduce, Balancing Calories, “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables” and “Avoid oversized portions.”
One recent example of this collaboration was in support of the message “Make at least half your grains whole grains.” Multiple national partners committed to promoting and supporting grains rallied together and formed a group known as the “Grain Chain.” Members included American Bakers Association, Wheat Foods Council, Grains Food Foundation, National Pasta Association, USA Rice Federation, General Mills, and Kellogg’s. The “Grain Chain” partnered to produce a series of educational “how-to” videos highlighting whole grains as well as a series of tasty recipes featuring whole grains. The videos are now available at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. Recipes coming soon! Read more »
As a new school year begins, I’m proud to say that the Obama Administration is taking historic steps to make the school day healthier for kids in schools across the country. I’m excited about the changes showing up in cafeterias this school year – more fruits, vegetables and whole grains; low-fat and fat-free milk choices; and fewer salty and fatty foods.
In addition to those changes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with parents, teachers and school cafeteria managers to ensure our kids get the right amount of food. Menus are planned for grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 and the meals are “right-sized” so that kids get the appropriate amount of calories and the correct portions of different foods. To further improve menu changes, we’re increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of sodium, saturated fat and trans fats available in those meals. Read more »