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 »
MyPlate Food Icon
June 2, 2012 will mark the first anniversary of the release of MyPlate food icon. At ceremonies a year earlier, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the federal government’s new food icon to serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices. MyPlate, which replaced MyPyramid, is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and to seek more information to help them by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups. On September 30, MiPlato, a Spanish version of MyPlate was released by Secretary Vilsack, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and White House Chef Sam Kass to reach the Hispanic population in the United States. Today, MyPlate and MiPlato are among the most recognized food images developed by the government. Read more »
6 cent rule is a linchpin to schools adopting new meal standards that will improve kids’ meal choices in the cafeteria.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has issued an important piece of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – the 6 cent interim final rule – to give schools and communities the tools to meet the challenge of providing more nutritious food. This rule is another big step to provide our children with the nutrition they need in school to be healthy, active and ready to face the future.
In January, USDA unveiled new standards for school meals based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These updates will result in healthier meals for kids across the nation. The 6 cent interim final rule is important because it establishes the requirements for states to certify school district compliance with the new meal standards. Once certified, school districts that meet the meal standards will be reimbursed an additional 6 cents for each lunch served. Read more »
Today was an exciting day at USDA as I was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin to unveil USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate. The icon is a departure from MyPyramid and serves as a quick, simple reminder to all consumers, built off of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for all Americans.
We all know that what we eat matters – MyPlate offers a visual reminder to make healthy food choices when you choose your next meal. MyPlate can help prioritize food choices by reminding us to make half of our plate fruits and vegetables and shows us the other important food groups for a well-balanced meal: whole grains, lean proteins, and low fat dairy. Read more »
Breakfast matters! And starting the day on a nutritious note enables our children to learn better and acquire the energy needed for academic success.
To amplify that message, this week USDA celebrates School Breakfast Week to ensure our nation’s children have the best opportunity to prosper in school and in their futures. Read more »
In “The Role of Nutrition Programs in Agriculture: From Tractor to Table,” USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has organized a session at this years Agricultural Outlook Forum addressing how the increase in consumer participation in the nutrition assistance programs has expanded FNS’ role not only among families but also in the marketplace. This session will explore the existing and new opportunities that now exist for food distributors, manufactures, retailers, and consumers. Speakers include: Cathleen Enright, Vice President Federal Government Affairs, Western Growers Association; Scott Faber, Vice President, Federal Affairs, Grocery Manufacturers Association; Jim Weill, President, Food Research and Action Center. Julie Paradis, Administrator, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, will moderate the session. Read more »