As a new school year begins, I’m proud to say that the Obama Administration is taking historic steps to make the school day healthier for kids in schools across the country. I’m excited about the changes showing up in cafeterias this school year – more fruits, vegetables and whole grains; low-fat and fat-free milk choices; and fewer salty and fatty foods.
In addition to those changes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with parents, teachers and school cafeteria managers to ensure our kids get the right amount of food. Menus are planned for grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 and the meals are “right-sized” so that kids get the appropriate amount of calories and the correct portions of different foods. To further improve menu changes, we’re increasing the focus on reducing the amounts of sodium, saturated fat and trans fats available in those meals. Read more »
Fruit and Veggie Ambassadors sampling fresh fruit and vegetables at a Pawtucket Summer Food Service Program.
Do you know what a Malanga is? What about a Chocolate Pepper? The “Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador ” (F&V Ambassador) students of Slater Jr. High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island learned about these unusual vegetables and more during their Summer Food Service Program fruit and vegetable taste testing. For the less adventurous vegetable eater, a Malanga is a root vegetable that has a nutlike flavor and when cut open looks similar to a sweet potato. A Chocolate Pepper is a purple Bell Pepper.
The students at this summer food program are nicknamed the “F&V Ambassadors” of their school. Along with this prestigious title, students get cool t-shirts and, most importantly, the responsibility of encouraging fellow students throughout the school year to make healthier decisions at lunchtime. Read more »
Mark Platten (right) with some of the Junior Master Gardeners of Cripple Creek, Colorado
With gas prices on the rise and the trip to the nearest large grocery store clocking in at 50 miles, Mark Platten realized an opportunity much closer to home. Platten, the Colorado State University Extension Director for Teller County, began brainstorming and came up with the idea for a program that would engage young people in gardening, put fresh food on the table, and facilitate community service opportunities in the town of Cripple Creek, Colorado – a small town situated in the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 9,500. Read more »
A Kids Zone added fun with face painting and other activities during planting at the Urban Tilth Edible Forest in Richmond, Calif. Other highlights were the community barbeque and a “make your own soda” used to teach children how much sugar goes into their favorite beverage.
This year, more than 80 volunteers worked together to plant 20 trees, 117 native and edible understory plants, and more than 600 butterfly garden plants as part of the Cesar Chavez Community Garden Day celebration at the Edible Forest garden on the Richmond Greenway, a 2.8-mile trail in Contra Costa County, Calif. Read more »
4-H campers enjoy incorporating fitness into a healthy lifestyle. Here, participants work to complete an obstacle course.
The Louisiana State 4-H Food and Fitness Camp is joining the Let’s Move! initiative to combat childhood obesity through improved nutrition and increased physical activity. As a camp for fourth and fifth graders designed and run by high school 4-H teens, the program motivates campers to eat healthier and move more. Read more »
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:
The winners of the Communities on the Move Video Challenge have been chosen! Since First Lady Michelle Obama announced the Video Challenge in February, Let’s Move Faith and Communities has been inspired by every congregation and community that submitted a video highlighting how they are promoting healthy lifestyles for kids. From putting on nutrition-themed puppet shows in Connecticut to advocating for safer play spaces in Colorado and preaching healthy living from the pulpit in Florida, the ideas in these videos demonstrate the commitment that communities across the country have to reversing the trend of childhood obesity within a generation.
The Video Challenge encouraged faith-based and neighborhood organizations to create one-to-three minute videos highlighting the work they are doing to make their communities or congregations places of wellness. The challenge recognized efforts that promote healthy lifestyles for kids in three areas: encouraging nutritious eating through USDA’s MyPlate icon, increasing physical activity, and ensuring access to healthy, affordable foods. The winners and honorable mentions will be invited to Washington, D.C. for a Let’s Move! event. Read more »