Schools, teachers and school nutrition professionals across the nation are working hard to make the school day healthier. According to a new study by the CDC, schools across the nation are embracing healthier policies, such as increased physical education, reducing kids’ exposure to tobacco, and of course, improving the nutrition environment at schools. Children who participate in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program are now getting more balanced meals – with less fat, sodium and sugar, and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy – to help them grow healthy and strong. Starting next year, snacks and a la cart options will also offer more of the foods we should encourage, and less of the foods we should avoid. Read more »
First Lady Michelle Obama joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and celebrity cook Rachel Ray at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 to speak with faculty and parents about the United States Department of Agriculture’s new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches.
It’s always a treat when we get to announce major progress toward making the school day healthier. Today, I am happy to say that over 3717 schools are recognized through the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). This voluntary initiative acknowledges schools that go the extra mile to increase nutritious food offerings, teach kids about healthy eating, and promote physical activity. Read more »
Today I participated in event with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to highlight the challenge of increasing access to healthy foods. It’s a conversation that I and others at USDA have had many times before. From small towns to big cities, people are talking about how to get more fresh, healthy food into their communities. Everywhere I go, parents ask how and where they can get fresh fruits and vegetables for their children. Schools ask for advice on sourcing healthier food for school meals. Shoppers ask where they can buy healthy foods in their neighborhoods.
According to the Institute of Medicine, 1 in 3 children and 2 out of 3 adults are overweight or obese. The percentage of obese adults in the United States is expected to reach 42 percent by 2030. More than 20 million Americans have diabetes, and 79 million are pre-diabetic. Our nation’s children may be the first American generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents’, due in large part to obesity-related diseases . In addition, the economic costs of obesity and related chronic health issues are staggering at an estimated $147 billion per year in direct costs, and billions more if indirect costs such as lost productivity are included. Read more »
Intent on their work, Charter Oak student chefs carefully assemble their competition entry Fiesta Wrap.
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:
It’s only natural that when the team from Charter Oak International Academy came up with their entry in the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition it would have true international flavor. The West Hartford, CT school is a magnet school with a global focus, including Spanish language instruction. Their “Fiesta Wrap” stars quinoa and black beans accompanied by vegetables, lime juice, spices and reduced fat cheddar cheese with optional toppings such as fresh tomatoes, corn salsa or fiesta sauce. Read more »
Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog.
Dr. Seuss wrote about green eggs and ham but McDougle Elementary School didn’t stick to the script. The Chapel Hill, North Carolina school stirred its way into the semi-finals of the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge by adding added nutritious brown rice. They also used chopped spinach to give the dish a vibrant green color.
Stir Fried green rice, eggs and ham
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Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:
Have you cast your vote? The selection period for the Popular Choice Award in the First Lady’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition will close soon, so it’s time to make your voice heard. The First Lady and the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched the competition last September, challenging teams of school nutrition professionals, chefs, students, and community members to develop creative, nutritious, and kid-approved recipes that schools can easily incorporate into National School Lunch Program menus – and families can try at home. And I just want to say that I think Recipes for Healthy Kids is a really neat idea. It draws on America’s culinary creativity and our commitment to the healthy lifestyle we all aim for. Chefs are providing culinary expertise, school nutrition professionals are sharing insight as to what can be accomplished in a school setting, and kids and parents are making sure that students will choose these nutritious items in school and beyond. Read more »