Chef hats for each of the winners at the 2016 Kids’ “State Dinner.” (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
At the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, we are excited about using local foods and flavors to create healthy and delicious plates. Through our MyPlate, MyState initiative, we are working to connect American families with the foods grown in their communities – raising awareness that all healthy foods and flavors have a place on MyPlate. As part of that initiative it was my privilege to attend the 5th annual Kids’ “State Dinner” last month, when the winners of the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, were honored for their MyPlate-inspired recipes. For the first time this year’s contest, in which young chefs ages 8-12 from across the country create healthy recipes and show off their food know-how, included an emphasis on local and regional foods through MyPlate, MyState.
It was thrilling to see such creative approaches to amplifying local and regional foods. The winners truly captured the agricultural, historical, and cultural significance of their communities through food. I had the pleasure of meeting many amazing young chefs in attendance, including 11-year-old Abhijith from Missouri, who incorporated local catfish into his recipe, and 12-year-old Grace from West Virginia, who picked the vegetables in her dish from a community garden. Read more »
Promoting Healthy Choices Throughout the School Day
Schools across the country are working hard to ensure students experience a healthy school environment from the moment they walk in the door until the final bell rings. Imagine for a second that you are back in sixth grade. In health class, you’re learning about the food groups and how to eat a balanced diet. During P.E. class, your teacher stresses the importance of exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle. School breakfast and lunch included colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. In between periods you are hungry for an afternoon snack from the school’s vending machine. Your eye catches a glimpse of a flashy picture of a bottle of water with a logo down the side of the vending machine, and you think to yourself that water would be a great thirst quencher. Still, you scan the vending machine and see that your options are bottles of water, 100 percent juices, and unsweetened tea—all healthy options! You are thrilled that the school is supporting your resolve to maintain a healthy lifestyle by making healthy choices so readily available. Feeling good about the choices you’ve made so far that day, you are able to choose a healthy snack to compliment the healthy meals you have eaten throughout the day. Read more »
A nutrition educator teaches children about MyPlate.
Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages Americans to return to the basics of healthful eating through National Nutrition Month. To kick off the month-long celebration of nutrition and health, we wanted to recognize the Academy, who initiated this observance in 1973 as a week-long event that eventually grew into the established month-long observance in 1980. Today we hear from the Academy’s President on the value of nutrition education, such as MyPlate, and its importance to federal nutrition programs.
By Dr. Evelyn F. Crayton, RDN, LDN, FAND, President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Access to safe, affordable, nutritious foods is central to the missions of both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.
Access to nutritious food is just part of the solution: Building people’s motivation, knowledge, skills and abilities around food and nutrition makes a lifelong impact that reduces health care costs and improves hunger status. Read more »
The recipes on What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl offer nutrition information to help you choose dishes for you and your family.
This is the first installment of the What’s Cooking? Blog Series. In honor of the Let’s Move 5th Anniversary, and the commitment USDA shares with Let’s Move to promote healthy eating and access to healthy foods, this month-long series will highlight the various features of the What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl recipe website.
Did you know that one of the easiest ways to eat healthfully is to cook at home? When you cook at home, you can often make better choices about what and how much you eat and drink. Cooking can also be a fun activity and a way for you to spend time with family and friends.
If you don’t usually cook, start gradually. Make it a goal to cook once a week and work up to cooking more frequently. First, you’ll need to plan your meal and purchase ingredients that you do not already have on hand. Planning ahead can also help you make better food choices. Read more »
Representing USDA on a panel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (MALDEF) Fourth Annual Latino State of the Union in Washington, D.C. was a remarkable experience. The event examined how American public policy affects the Latino community, and assessed how future policy can lead to a better quality of life for Latinos.
While the discussions covered a range of topics important to the Hispanic community, much of conversation was dedicated to how childhood obesity is impacting educational attainment, future talent, and workforce capacity of not just Latinos, but of our entire nation. Read more »