Today’s guest post comes from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization that aptly describes itself as “a catalyst for children’s health.” While the Alliance has been active in many settings, we at USDA particularly appreciate the dedication they have shown to improving school nutrition. In this post, Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO, describes some of the successes that his team has witnessed in school cafeterias.
Howell Wechsler, EdD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Our nation’s students, some of whom consume up to half of their daily calories at school [see also this publication from the US National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health], want and deserve healthy choices throughout the school building—in the cafeteria line, vending machines, and school stores.
Just ask eight-year-old Farrah from the William J. Christian School in Birmingham, Alabama: “It’s important to have healthy foods as part of school lunch so that kids can have the opportunity to try many fruits and vegetables and see that these foods are delicious,” she told the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “At the same time we can learn that these foods are good for you…Eating healthy can be fun.” Read more »
“Cooking Up Change” involved more than one hundred students and over 700 guests.
This November I served as a judge in the 2013-14 kick off Cooking Up Change competition here in Chicago. What is “Cooking Up Change”? It’s a culinary competition sponsored by the Healthy Schools Campaign that challenges Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and others across the U.S to create and prepare meals that are healthy and tasty and also follow National School Lunch Program requirements. This competition empowers students to have a voice about school meals and nutrition. On top of that, it’s a lot of fun for everyone involved!
The day of the competition I prepared by reviewing the rules, reading meal requirements, and skipping lunch. When I arrived at the event, I was impressed to see how many fellow judges there were and the wide range of food experts sitting around me. The competition got started and teams from fourteen schools started presenting their meals to us. The students brought in three or four cafeteria trays and gave each judge a sample. Judging was based on visual appearance, taste, presentation, and originality. Some students set themselves apart by being very well-polished when explaining the dishes, or by adding some creativity with music and costumes that reflected the meal’s ethic background. The competition was really tough, and ranking thee dishes was no easy task. Every meal had something that stood out, and often I found myself saying “I would order this at a restaurant!” Each dish was so delicious that by the end I could not eat one more bite! Read more »
Cross-posted from the Let’s Move blog.
Last Father’s Day, President Obama challenged American fathers to take time for their children. He has said that being a father to his two daughters is the most important job he has. In Chicago, one organization of talented fathers is rising to that challenge and using their time to tackle child nutrition issues.
Read more »
Students at Chicago’s Mark Sheridan Math & Science Academy sampled—and enjoyed—nutritious food prepared by Chef Lovely Jackson as part of a Chefs Move to Schools event on April 5th.
Chicago is fortunate to have a bevy of talented chefs and also to be the hometown for the Healthy Schools Campaign, a national organization that advocates for policies and practices that allow students, teachers and staff to learn and work in a healthy school environment. Read more »
Richards Career Academy winning team
On January 24, 2011, a wintry day in Chicago, 20,000 high school students in the Chicago Public Schools were treated to a prize-winning, delicious and healthy school lunch created by their fellow students. Topping the menu was Afro-Caribe Plancha (Cuban turkey, black beans, provolone cheese and marinated cucumbers baked in a whole grain pizza crust), along with Soup of Sunshine (yellow squash, bell pepper, tomatoes, apples, bananas and peanut butter with cilantro and spices), and Caribbean Crunch Salad (julienned oranges, cucumber apple, cilantro, orange juice and black pepper). Read more »
Chicago Public School teachers submit Healthier US School Challenge applications for gold awards to USDA’s Audrey Rowe, Healthy Schools Campaign’s Rochelle Davis, and Chicago Public Schools’ Louise Esaian at a November event hosted by Healthy Schools Campaign.
While some might think that Chicagoans are only passionate about sports and pizza, they’re mistaken. In fact, lately it seems that residents of the Second City are as jazzed about the food their children eat at school as they are about their Bulls and Bears. Read more »