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Posts tagged: Food and Nutrition

Direct Certification Improves Low-Income Children’s Access to Healthy School Meals, Boosts Program Efficiency

Students at the Wolcott Elementary School in West Hartford, Connecticut enjoying lunchtime

Direct certification can increase access to free school meals for eligible students.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is committed to helping America’s children get the nutritious food they need to learn and grow.  Direct certification for school meals is one important strategy to make that possible for the low-income children.  This process links student enrollment records to states’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program data, so children receiving SNAP or TANF can be directly certified for free school meals without having to submit additional paperwork through applications. 

By using data already verified through SNAP and TANF, direct certification improves efficiency and accuracy for schools.  Just as importantly, families are spared the burden of a separate meals application.  Congress made direct certification a requirement for all schools through the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. Read more »

Chef Leverages USDA Team Nutrition Grant to Develop Healthy Menus for Students

Chef Brenda with foodservice staff

Chef Brenda works with foodservice staff to assemble her breakfast burrito recipe during the chef designed school taste testing.

The following guest blog highlights the important work of Chef Brenda Thompson, RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist).  Thanks to a USDA Team Nutrition grant, she developed recipes for the Chef Designed School Lunch cookbook.  Chef Brenda is currently working with the Idaho State Department on the final stages of her second book, Chef Designed School Breakfast, which will be published online at the end of this year.

By Chef Brenda Thompson, RDN

As an advocate for school foodservice staff, I am committed to being a resource—both in getting the word out about the nutrition goals schools are achieving daily and in helping kitchen staff be more efficient and have fun at their jobs.

In conjunction with these goals, I am often presented with opportunities to provide support for schools in meeting the standards set forth in the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. Since I enjoy marketing healthy foods to kids and encouraging them to try new things, these opportunities are a great privilege. Read more »

How MyPlate Inspired One California Student to Make a Difference on her College Campus

MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) host nutrition events for other students on their campus.

MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) host nutrition events for other students on their campus.

We love hearing success stories from our MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors! Over 3,450 students, representing all 50 states, have signed on to take part in the MyPlate On Campus initiative, USDA’s effort to promote healthy eating on college campuses nationwide through peer-to-peer education. Read below about how one group of passionate students is helping to spread the MyPlate message. Also, be sure to check out what MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors have been up to at Rutgers University and University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Guest post by Sitoya Mansell, MPH, CHES President, Residential Nutrition Wellness Program, and Gena Alltizer, President, CSUSB Nutrition Student Association

After becoming a MyPlate On Campus Ambassador in 2013, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) student and Nutrition and Food Sciences major Sitoya Mansell was inspired to create a nutrition program for students on her campus.  Coming to college is a major transition for many students, and Sitoya saw the need to guide students in making healthy choices in their newly independent lives.  With the assistance of the DPD Director of Nutrition and Food Sciences and the Office of Residential Living, a nutrition education program called the Residential Nutrition Wellness Program (RNWP) was created for students living in campus housing and dormitories. Read more »

EFNEP: Delivering Nutrition Education to Limited-Resource Families

EFNEP provides food and nutrition information to limited-resource families, including how to understand the nutrition information provided on food labels. (iStock image)

EFNEP provides food and nutrition information to limited-resource families, including how to understand the nutrition information provided on food labels. (iStock image)

Educators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories recently met in Arlington, Virginia to discuss local implementation of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), one of the nation’s largest nutrition education programs.

Through nutrition education, EFNEP helps limited-resource families and children gain the knowledge and skills to change their current attitudes and behaviors when it comes to choosing nutritionally sound diets and improve their health and well-being.  USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) administers EFNEP and provides national program leadership.

“The 2015 EFNEP Conference brought together about 170 representatives from 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities (LGUs) to coordinate, collaborate, and receive training that they can take back and implement in their respective university programs,” said Stephanie Blake, NIFA EFNEP program coordinator. Read more »

Online Nutrition Resources at Your Fingertips

At home, school, or work, consumers can use USDA’s free ChooseMyPlate.gov, an interactive website for creating a customized healthy dietary plan that includes 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.”

At home, school, or work, consumers can use USDA’s free ChooseMyPlate.gov, an interactive website for creating a customized healthy dietary plan that includes 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.”

Even if you’re not among the 68 percent of U.S. adults who are overweight or obese, many consumers are striving to get a leg up on their nutritional health. Some of the simplest government facts can inspire consumers to better nutrition.

U.S. nutrition experts issue “leading indicators” on the nation’s nutritional health. USDA’s national “What We Eat In America” survey data indicate that dietary fiber intakes among U.S. consumers average only 16 grams per day. The problem is that the daily Adequate Intake for fiber is set at 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men! Read more »

Celebrate National Nutrition Month with MyPlate at School!

MyPlate is the perfect teaching tool for nutrition education! Discover classroom materials at ChooseMyPlate.gov and from Team Nutrition.

MyPlate is the perfect teaching tool for nutrition education! Discover classroom materials at ChooseMyPlate.gov and from Team Nutrition.

In honor of National Nutrition Month®, MyPlate is sharing resources to help you bite into a healthy lifestyle everywhere you go! This blog highlights resources for encouraging a healthy lifestyle in the classroom. Learn about healthy eating at home, work, and throughout the community here.

MyPlate can be used to teach students of all ages about healthy eating. Start early and introduce preschoolers to fruits and vegetables through garden-themed nutrition education using the Grow It, Try It, Like It! Nutrition Education Kit. Elementary school teachers can integrate nutrition education into other subjects including Math, Science, English Language Arts, and Health with Serving Up MyPlate: A Yummy Curriculum. Read more »