“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” These words, spoken by Albert Einstein, can hold true for anything. USDA’s Commodity Procurement Program enjoys seeing schools and other organizations develop creative, healthy meals featuring foods we purchase for federal feeding programs. We hope that finding innovative ways to use USDA foods is contagious and that others catch on.
During a recent conference, USDA saw how a bit of ingenuity can turn low-sodium corn, dried beans, and fresh squash into a tasty meal. Inspired by the American Indian tradition of the three sisters, Tocabe, an American Indian Eatery used corn and beans from USDA Foods and squash from the Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to make a healthy soup. Read more »
The U.S. Department of Agriculture works every day to improve childhood nutrition and combat obesity in order to raise a healthier generation of Americans.
In recent days, we have had some positive developments in this work. USDA released a promising new report on the impacts of providing our children with healthy snacks. We also took new steps to provide families with better information to combat obesity. Read more »
You may have heard this year’s back to school season is a little different than in past years. There is a new, healthier look for the school lunch menu. These updates represent the first major changes to school meals in 15 years, and we know that these changes come with questions. We’ve promised to keep the dialogue open, and we are working to ensure that we answer them all.
The vast majority of students, parents, teachers and school service professionals have had great positive feedback on the new, healthier lunches. However, a few parents have expressed concerns that kids will come home from school hungry or not get enough to eat during the day because their kids have higher caloric needs – in particular, kids who are athletes. Schools and families have – and have always had – multiple options for addressing their needs. Read more »
Schools across the country focus on offering healthier options and more variety for their students. The pilot program will bring fresh lettuce, apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, and blueberries to Michigan and Florida schools. (Photo by Tim Lauer, principal of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon.)
Fresh and healthy foods are the focus again as we celebrate National School Lunch Week. The theme of this year’s celebration is “School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy,” and schools across the country are touting the many ways they are introducing fresh fruits and vegetables and healthier choices on their menus. Read more »
First graders at E. J. Brown Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio, eat cauliflower with lowfat ranch dip, as part of their school’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. According to school nurse Virginia Noe, the students “gobbled up” the cauliflower, with and without the dip.
Recently, an interesting letter came across my desk. The letter was from an Ohio school nurse who wanted USDA to know that students at E. J. Brown Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio, LOVE their USDA-funded Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), now in its second year. And that makes E.J. Brown’s school nurse Virginia Noe, who wrote the letter, a huge fan of the program and its many positive effects on student eating behavior, health and learning. Noe shared her thoughts in the enthusiastic and heartfelt letter. Read more »