Now that the school year has started, everyone is abuzz about the healthier meals being served at schools all over the country. As a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, starting this fall, school meals are featuring more whole grains, both fruits and vegetables at every meal, and less sodium and trans fat. Portion sizes are adjusted for age, among other improvements.
As a result, you may have questions like:
What kinds of new foods will my child’s school offer?
What prompted the changes?
What can I do to help my child eat healthier at home? Read more »
It may look like just another lunch at Hiawatha Elementary School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but these children are part of The People’s Garden School Pilot Project. The students at Hiawatha Elementary are among 4,000 youth in 57 schools in Iowa, Arkansas, New York, and Washington participating in Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth (HGHY), a project that will assess how school gardens influence students’ fruit and vegetable consumption.
The visit to Hiawatha was preceded by my participation in the Iowa Hunger Summit where we discussed steps to eliminate food insecurity in Iowa communities. What many people may not know is that hunger is fueled by poor nutrition. That’s why it’s so important that we focus both on promoting access to nutrition programs and greater access to a variety of fruits and vegetables. The school pilot projects are just one way we are accomplishing the latter. Read more »
A student works hard on her assignment while eating a grab ‘n’ go breakfast in Mikelle Caine’s second grade advance class at Lake Forest Elementary School, Sandy Springs, Ga., (USDA photo by Debbie Smoot).
Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have to agree especially when it comes to children. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps keep kids alert and focused on learning rather than lunch. But not every child eats a nutritious breakfast at home. In fact, even though 32 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program each day, only 12 million students eat a school breakfast daily. That means we have to continue to work to get those school breakfast numbers up! Read more »
Special holiday series – Blog 5 of 5
Over the past week, Dr. Janey Thornton, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, and I have provided low-cost recipes incorporating simple food safety tips to help you prepare healthy and safe holiday meals. So far, we’ve posted recipes for turkey, stuffing, baked apples and sweet potatoes, and green beans. For the final blog in this series, we’re focusing on pumpkin pie, one of the mainstays of holiday meals. Like other holiday treats containing eggs, pumpkin pie filling can be messy to prepare and may lead to foodborne illness if not done carefully. This pumpkin pie recipe incorporates food safety tips at every step from mixing to storing leftovers. If you have further concerns about cooking with eggs this holiday season, this fact sheet should be really helpful. Additionally, I invite you to call USDA’s Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m EST, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day.
Enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Read more »