Colorful displays highlight nutritious choices in school lunchrooms.
Teenagers at several schools across the country are working together with school nutrition staff to make changes to the school cafeteria. Informed by Smarter Lunchrooms’ research, these students are promoting healthful foods to their peers and having a say in menu offerings. Team Nutrition Training Grants help fund a number of school activities that engage students in nutrition education and wellness activities. To learn more about Team Nutrition Training Grant activities, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/team-nutrition-training-grants.
The following guest blog describes how Iowa high school students worked with school nutrition staff to alter the way fruits and vegetables are offered in their school cafeteria. Following the changes, other students have taken notice of the new colorful displays, creative menu names, and signs promoting the salad bars. Reading their story, you’ll learn about innovative ways to engage youth in school wellness efforts.
By Carrie Scheidel, MPH, Team Nutrition Co-Director, Iowa Department of Education
As teachers prepared their classrooms for the new school year, school nutrition professionals and students in Iowa were working to make their lunchrooms smarter. A partnership between the University of Iowa Public Policy Center – College of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, and five Iowa high schools worked to apply Smarter Lunchrooms’ techniques to make healthy choices easier at school. Read more »
SNAP E&T provides in-demand job training and skills to low-income and low-skilled individuals.
Getting a good job these days takes more than good intentions because today’s jobs require a higher level of skills than ever before. This is why the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s Employment and Training Program (SNAP E&T), administered by states across the country, has such an important role to play in helping SNAP recipients gain the skills they need to find and keep good jobs. This is also why the U.S. Department of Agriculture is committed to supporting this effort.
USDA demonstrated that commitment in two new initiatives launched just this week, the SNAP E&T Learning Academy and a new website for the innovative SNAP to Skills Project, led by the Food and Nutrition Service. The Academy breaks new ground, as a first-ever opportunity that will help address an identified need. You see, though SNAP E&T programs operate across America, we’ve found that there is an opportunity for further sharing of best practices and lessons learned by developing resources that spread the knowledge base throughout the country. The two new projects launched this week will use a “train-the-trainer” model to create new leadership capacity to build the next generation of SNAP E&T programs. Read more »
The local foods offered through farm to school programs help school meal programs fulfill the updated nutrition standards with appealing and diverse offerings.
It’s National Farm to School Month and USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems is here to help…and not just in October! All year long, we offer research, grants, training and technical assistance to help connect child nutrition programs with local foods. Here’s why.
Farm to school helps form healthy habits. By incorporating local foods, farm to school programs help school meal programs fulfill the updated nutrition standards with appealing and diverse offerings. And the results are impressive. The recent 2015 USDA Farm to School Census shows farm to school programs now exist in every state in the nation and in every type of school district – large and small, rural and urban alike. With that in mind, we plan to build on this momentum! Read more »
Cross-posted from the Disability.gov blog:
Your neighborhood grocer may be conveniently located just a few short blocks away. But for many persons with disabilities and the elderly participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the store might as well be on the other side of the world.
It’s a difficult problem that USDA’s new homebound food delivery pilot aims to alleviate, not just for the more than 4 million nonelderly adults with disabilities participating in SNAP, but also for the nearly 5 million seniors, who often face similar challenges and who may face disabilities, as well. Read more »
SNAP is a key component of America’s nutrition safety net, helping families in need get the nutrition they need.
The number of people participating in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been declining now for several years from a high of nearly 48 million people back in 2013 to a little more than 43 million in June. That is a drop of about 4.4 million people. This downward trend is encouraging but should come as no surprise. SNAP is designed to respond to the economy by expanding and contracting based on economic conditions. As the economy continues to grow and recover from the recession, recent data shows household incomes beginning to rise. I’m confident that we’ll see these numbers shrink even more.
The best way to keep the numbers of SNAP participants on a downward trend is to connect recipients with opportunities to develop skills for in-demand jobs in their communities. Many Americans have gained employment but still do not have an income high enough to transition off the program. SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) programs can help individuals find jobs that allow working families to make ends meet without public assistance. Read more »
Cross-posted from the Let’s Move blog:
The annual Harvest Challenge, menu planning and cooking event for high school students, is an important example of how aspiring chefs get started and learn to create winning recipes.
This exciting contest, which is now going into its 8th year, challenges teams of high school students – including staff and chef mentors – to develop a creative, appetizing and visually appealing school lunch entrée and side dish while incorporating locally grown foods. At the same time, the entrée and side dish must comply with USDA National School Lunch nutrition standards and meet a budget of $1 per person per serving (entrée and side dish combined). “This is a fun and challenging event for our high school students that really enables them to appreciate the hard work that goes into school food programs,” says Ashlee Gabrielson, director of the Vernon County Farm to School Program in Wisconsin. Read more »