This month marked an important step forward for the health and well-being of our nation’s youngsters. USDA announced changes to improve the quality of school lunches that are served to 32 million American children each day. This will help them learn and better prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century.
These new standards – based on the most up-to-date science – will make the same kinds of practical changes that many parents are already encouraging at home:
They’ll make sure students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week – and increase opportunities to eat whole grains. They’ll substantially reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans-fats and salt in meals. And they’ll ensure appropriate portion size, limiting calories based on how old a child is. To drink, kids will be offered fat-free or low-fat milk. Read more »
Last week was an exciting week for America’s school lunchrooms. Our new meal standards were announced and they will help improve the health of millions of children. These new standards represent one of five major components of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. There’s more to come:
- The ability to take nutrition standards beyond the lunch line – for the first time ever, rules for foods and beverages sold in vending machines and other venues on school campuses will contribute to a healthy diet;
- Increased funding for schools – an additional 6 cents a meal will be available — the first real increase in 30 years – tied to strong performance in serving improved meals;
- Common-sense pricing standards for schools will ensure that revenues from non-Federal sources keep pace with the Federal commitment to healthy school meals and properly align with costs; and
- Training and technical assistance will help schools achieve and monitor compliance. Read more »
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined First Lady Michelle Obama and celebrity cook Rachel Ray at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday, January 25, 2012 to speak with faculty and parents about the United States Department of Agriculture’s new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches. USDA Photo by Bob Nichols
Today we celebrate an historic achievement on behalf of kids across America. We have accomplished a critical step on the road to deliver healthier, more nutritious food to our nation’s schoolchildren. Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the final rule that sets the standards for critical improvements to the child nutrition programs that serve millions of children across the country every day. 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 »
Under Secretary Kevin Concannon takes a photo of his lunch mates last month at Arcola Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md. Concannon presented all 132 Montgomery County Elementary Schools with Healthier US Schools Challenge Bronze awards.
Every child deserves to have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. That’s reason enough to recognize the nutritional accomplishments of our school meals programs during National School Lunch Week, Oct. 10-14. But there is more to celebrate… Read more »
In August I went back to school with students in Albany and Newton, Ga., to see how healthy school meals help students get their “S.W.A.G. on” and prepare for success.
In Albany, 400 Sherwood Acres Elementary Magnet School students celebrated school breakfast, many wearing S.W.A.G. t-shirts, which stands for “Students with Academic Greatness!”
Vanessa Hayes, Dougherty County Schools Director of Child Nutrition Services, explained, “We understand that good nutrition is the fuel for the educational vehicle.” Read more »