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Posts tagged: MyPyramid

USDA Healthier US School Challenge Winners during National School Lunch Week

Students from Brenham and Krause elementary schools in Texas put on an exercise musical.

Students from Brenham and Krause elementary schools in Texas put on an exercise musical.

What better way to celebrate National School Lunch Week than visiting winners of our USDA HealthierUS School Challenge! It was an honor to visit North Dakota and Texas schools that are going the extra mile to help children adopt healthier lifestyles. Our winners, the Phoenix, Brenham, and Krause elementary schools, respectively achieved Gold of Distinction and Gold status by providing students safe, nutritious, and healthy meals, in addition to plenty of on-site physical activity. Read more »

Attention Techies! Apps for Healthy Kids Launched Yesterday!

Yesterday was a very exciting day here at USDA as we joined First Lady Michelle Obama in announcing our Apps for Healthy Kids competition! Apps for Healthy Kids is part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity. Read more »

USDA to Sponsor Web-Based Nutrition Gaming Contest in Support of the President’s Open Government Initiative

Today we announced the Innovations for Healthy Kids Challenge, which supports the President’s Open Government Initiative by holding a national contest that will promote healthier dietary habits among children.

“The Innovations for Healthy Kids Challenge highlights the Obama Administration’s commitment to combating childhood obesity and improving the nutritional health of America’s youth,” said Vilsack. “We are excited to spur innovation by making it easier for high-tech companies and individuals to identify collaborative, entrepreneurial opportunities. Those who participate in this challenge will be important partners in helping our kids make smarter choices about the foods they eat.”

USDA released a dataset with 1,000 of the most common food items as well as open source codes from USDA nutrition resources to enable development of a Web-based learning application that incorporates the USDA-generated dataset. This challenge is open to entrepreneurs, software developers and students to design a creative and educational game targeted to kids, especially “tweens”, aged 9-12. The dataset is available to the public on and

The Web-based games will help motivate kids to learn about healthy dietary habits and the importance of eating more nutritional foods. Using the foods dataset, the game should be centered on educational messages that emphasize one or more key nutrition concepts from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPyramid Food Guidance System.

The FNCS Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion will begin accepting fully developed Web-based games in the spring of 2010 that will be judged by a panel of public and private sector nutrition and gaming experts. The Popular Choice winner will be selected based on public votes, so stay tuned for more information.

Additional details will be posted at as they are available. The dataset containing more than 1,000 commonly eaten foods and the open source code used for MyFood-a-pedia and the MyPyramid Menu Planner are available on the Website.

For examples of USDA-developed nutrition games and resources, visit the MyPyramid Blast Off Game, My Pyramid Menu Planner, and MyFood-a-pedia. For detailed information about the Innovations for Healthy Kids Challenge, go to

Innovations for Healthy Kids Challenge

Abundance is the Key Theme for Harvest-Time.

We all come together for festivals, fun and food as the growing season comes to an end.  This is the opening of the season of celebrating holidays bringing family and friends together. Our challenge is know how enjoy and deal with an abundance of food throughout out celebrations.

Abundance of food is a blessing for most Americans. Yet at the same time, given the high rate of overweight and obesity in our society, we all need to be recognize how much we eat compared to how much we need to eat.  So, how do YOU figure out how much YOU actually eat?  How much food do YOU need to eat?  A few simple tips can help you out.

First – since everyone is different – finding the amount of food YOU need is right at your fingertips at  The website will tell you the specific  amounts (in cups and ounces) of fruits, vegetables, meat and beans, breads and cereals, and milk (or foods made from milk) you need.   For example, many adults need 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables each day.

Second – Learn to estimate amounts of foods.  Use common objects as visual cues.  A baseball has the same volume as 1-cup and a computer mouse is equal to about ½-cup.  A deck of cards is equal to 3 ounces of meat, or ½-cup of another food.  Also,  practice  using measuring cups a couple of times to get a sense of the volume of 1-cup or ½-cup.  Paying attention to the amounts of food will help you get what ‘just’ you need, instead of  ‘more’ than you need.

Third – Put lower calorie foods, like fruits and vegetables, on your plate first.  Eating lower calorie foods first  will fill you up before you get to the dessert table.  Be mindful and slowly savor every bite. You’ll probably find a little less will do just fine.

Fourth- Watch out for the hidden calories in beverages.  Alternate a glass of water, or other calorie-free drink, with other beverages.

Celebrating the season abundance is a gift to ourselves.  Let yourself taste and enjoy all the delectable foods of the harvest season — without overdoing it!

Common Objects as Visual Cues for Vegetables

Common Objects as Visual Cues for Fruits

USDA Helping You Make Healthier Food Choices

Do you want to make healthier food choices, but aren’t sure where to start?

USDA has three new on-line tools and sites that can get you going: Read more »

Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Amqui Elementary School in Madison, TN

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Amqui Elementary School in Madison, TN yesterday as part of the Obama Administration’s ‘My Education, My Future’ events. Read more »