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Posts tagged: Nutrition

National Farm to School Month Highlights Benefits to America’s Students and Communities

Vegetables in trays and pumpkins on top

The local foods offered through farm to school programs help school meal programs fulfill the updated nutrition standards with appealing and diverse offerings.

It’s National Farm to School Month and USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems is here to help…and not just in October!  All year long, we offer research, grants, training and technical assistance to help connect child nutrition programs with local foods.  Here’s why.

Farm to school helps form healthy habits. By incorporating local foods, farm to school programs help school meal programs fulfill the updated nutrition standards with appealing and diverse offerings.  And the results are impressive.  The recent 2015 USDA Farm to School Census shows farm to school programs now exist in every state in the nation and in every type of school district – large and small, rural and urban alike. With that in mind, we plan to build on this momentum! Read more »

New SNAP Pilot Provides Grocery Delivery for Homebound Disabled, Elderly

Cross-posted from the blog:

Your neighborhood grocer may be conveniently located just a few short blocks away. But for many persons with disabilities and the elderly participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the store might as well be on the other side of the world.

It’s a difficult problem that USDA’s new homebound food delivery pilot aims to alleviate, not just for the more than 4 million nonelderly adults with disabilities participating in SNAP, but also for the nearly 5 million seniors, who often face similar challenges and who may face disabilities, as well. Read more »

Meet Candice and James: The Newest Real-Life Family in the #MyPlateMyWins Video Series

Candice, husband James, and their two-year-old son

The MyPlate, MyWins video series shows how real families make healthy eating work for them. Meet pregnant mom Candice, husband James, and their two-year-old son in the newest video.

Every family is unique, and when it comes to healthy eating, it’s important to find solutions that work for you. The MyPlate, MyWins video series features real-life families sharing their tips for success. In the newest video, Candice & James share how they plan healthy meals involving their two-year old son. For this growing family, preparing ahead is key. Read more »

Celebrate Whole Grains Month with Brown Rice, 5 Different Ways!

Brown Rice 5 Ways infographic

In Celebration of Whole Grains Month and National Rice Month, check out these easy-to-prepare recipes from MyPlate. (Click to view a larger version)

Did you know September is Whole Grains Month and National Rice Month? To help you fit whole grains into your menu this week, MyPlate is sharing five, easy-to-prepare recipes with brown rice as the star ingredient.

Almost all Americans are not eating enough whole grains. At least half of your grains should be whole grains. Whole grains provide more vitamins and minerals than refined grains because they are made from the entire grain seed. Eating more whole grains is easy to do! Try these recipes featuring brown rice five different ways to add more whole grains to your recipe repertoire: Read more »

SNAP Participation Shows Marked Decline

A family shopping

SNAP is a key component of America’s nutrition safety net, helping families in need get the nutrition they need.

The number of people participating in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been declining now for several years from a high of nearly 48 million people back in 2013 to a little more than 43 million in June. That is a drop of about 4.4 million people. This downward trend is encouraging but should come as no surprise. SNAP is designed to respond to the economy by expanding and contracting based on economic conditions. As the economy continues to grow and recover from the recession, recent data shows household incomes beginning to rise. I’m confident that we’ll see these numbers shrink even more.

The best way to keep the numbers of SNAP participants on a downward trend is to connect recipients with opportunities to develop skills for in-demand jobs in their communities. Many Americans have gained employment but still do not have an income high enough to transition off the program. SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) programs can help individuals find jobs that allow working families to make ends meet without public assistance. Read more »

The Annual Harvest Challenge: Student Teams Supported by Chefs Move to Schools and Farm to School

Cross-posted from the Let’s Move blog:

The annual Harvest Challenge, menu planning and cooking event for high school students, is an important example of how aspiring chefs get started and learn to create winning recipes.

This exciting contest, which is now going into its 8th year, challenges teams of high school students – including staff and chef mentors – to develop a creative, appetizing and visually appealing school lunch entrée and side dish while incorporating locally grown foods. At the same time, the entrée and side dish must comply with USDA National School Lunch nutrition standards and meet a budget of $1 per person per serving (entrée and side dish combined). “This is a fun and challenging event for our high school students that really enables them to appreciate the hard work that goes into school food programs,” says Ashlee Gabrielson, director of the Vernon County Farm to School Program in Wisconsin. Read more »