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Posts tagged: Nutrition

Farm to School: An $800 Million Investment in Local Foods, Local Economies

Farm to School graphic

42% of districts surveyed by USDA say they participate in farm to school activities.

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

We’ve talked quite a bit in the past about the major benefits we’re seeing in schools and districts that have established a farm to school program.  Their efforts are giving students a deep understanding and appreciation for where their food comes from and drastically shifting kids’ opinions of fruits and veggies.

The final results of the USDA Farm to School Census 2015 shed light on another huge benefit of farm to school – we’re talking $789 million huge.  That’s the total amount schools report investing in their communities in school year 2013 – 2014 by purchasing local food from farmers, ranchers, fisherman, food processors, and manufacturers.  This represents a 105 percent increase over school year 2011 – 2012, when the first USDA Farm to School Census was conducted.  In addition, nearly half (47 percent) of districts engaged in farm to school report that they plan to purchase more local foods in the coming years. Read more »

National Ag Day: Where Was the Food On Your Plate Grown?

MyPlate, MyState graphic

MyPlate, MyState, a celebration of hometown goodness and healthy eating styles. More details coming soon!

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

Recently, the Let’s Move! campaign issued its annual call for kids to enter original recipes into the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.  One winner from each state will be selected to attend the 2016 Kids “State Dinner” at the White House, where a selection of the winning recipes will be served. This year, the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is putting a spotlight on homegrown pride and encouraging entries from across the country that include ingredients grown in your state, territory, or community, celebrating MyPlate, MyState. Read more »

From Our Family to Yours – Find Healthy Eating Solutions with MyPlate, MyWins

MyPlate MyWins graphic

Share your healthy eating tips on social media with #MyPlateMyWins

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

We get it. Between hectic schedules, tight budgets, and caring for children, sometimes it’s easier said than done when it comes to healthy eating. MyPlate, MyWins, our latest initiative, is here to make healthy eating easier with real life solutions you can apply today. MyPlate, MyWins is all about finding a healthy eating style that works for you and fits with your everyday life. MyPlate tips and tools can guide you in making small, practical changes that add up to big successes over time.

Remember – we’re all in this together!  That’s why we kicked off MyPlate, MyWins by sharing our own healthy eating tips and tricks. We may be nutrition experts, but we’re also busy moms, wives, brothers, graduate students, volunteers, coaches, etc., who are trying to juggle it all, just like you! Check out our healthy eating “hacks” on the MyPlate, MyWins landing page and on social media. Read more »

Proposed Rule Clarifies SNAP Outreach Activities Allowed

An elderly man shopping

Proper outreach ensures that those eligible for SNAP are aware of the benefits of nutrition assistance programs.

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

Even as the economy improves, many Americans continue to need a helping hand putting food on the table.  Many of our most vulnerable low income citizens still have trouble obtaining meaningful jobs due to barriers such as lack of education, transportation, or child care.  Outreach helps people understand whether they may be eligible for USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and how it can supplement their current food budget. But in the end, whether or not to participate in SNAP is a personal decision.  This is a core part of the SNAP regulations and a guiding factor in SNAP outreach strategies.

Today, USDA published a proposed rule that codifies portions of the 2014 Farm Bill related to outreach that further strengthen guidelines against recruitment.  Outreach activities designed to pressure or persuade a person to apply for benefits are not allowed.  Furthermore, as directed by the Farm Bill, the proposed rule specifically prohibits radio, television or billboard advertising.  The proposed rule would also prohibit organizations receiving funds under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 from tying compensation for outreach workers to the number of people who apply for SNAP benefits as a result of their efforts, also part of the Farm Bill. Read more »

Funding to Support Healthy Meals and Environments in Our Nation’s Schools and Child Care

The Murtillo Mazzo team

The Murtillo Mazzo (Italian for the “Blueberry Bunch”) won second place in Michigan Department of Education’s 2015 Junior Chef Breakfast Competition with their locally inspired Grab ‘n Go Blueberry Oatmeal Sundaes. This competition was sponsored in part with funds from a 2013 USDA Team Nutrition Training Grant.

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

As the old proverb goes, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Most educators live by this adage, agreeing that teaching a skill and educating pupils on the importance of that skill will “feed (them) for a lifetime.”

USDA agrees with this proverb. We believe that teaching children how to eat healthy, and educating them on the importance of proper nutrition, is crucial to the health and wellbeing of our next generation.  And to demonstrate our support of healthy eating and nutrition education, USDA launched the Team Nutrition initiative more than two decades ago. Read more »

Fresh Produce – The Original Smart Snack

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation (“The Alliance”) was founded as a response to the growing rate of childhood obesity. To combat this epidemic and to help make the healthy choice the easy choice, the Alliance created the Healthy Schools Program in 2006, launched in 231 schools in 13 states. The Healthy Schools Program has since grown to become the nation’s most extensive effort to prevent childhood obesity in schools and is now building healthier school environments for more than 17 million students in more than 29,000 schools in every state and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

By Jill Turley, MS, RD/LD and Joshua Moore of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Produce is packed full of the nutrients youth need to learn and play, whether at school, in an out-of-school time program, or at home. Children should be exposed to a variety of fruits and vegetables to help ensure these products are what come to mind when reaching for a snack.

Innovations in the produce industry can help with just that! The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, in collaboration with the United Fresh Produce Association, has identified several kid-friendly, single-serve, fresh produce snacks that meet USDA’s Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards and offer easy, delicious snack options for schools or out-of-school time programs. Read more »