The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation encourages parents to make a date with their child to eat a healthy school lunch. (Click to view a larger version)
More than 50 million children around the country attend schools that participate in USDA’s National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Programs. And not only are their meals full of nutritious ingredients – with 99 percent of schools nationwide reporting that they are successfully meeting the updated nutrition standards – their entire learning environment fosters healthy habits now and throughout the rest of their lives. During National School Lunch Week 2016, USDA and partners like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, are celebrating this progress.
It’s National School Lunch Week and this year we have more to celebrate than ever before!
Over the past decade, significant policy changes have sparked a national movement that has transformed the school nutrition landscape and created a new healthier era for school foods. Many of these policies were initiated by USDA, including updated nutrition standards for the meals and snacks schools offer, as well as updated requirements for local wellness policies.
Thanks to these developments and incredible efforts by schools to put them in place, millions of students across America not only have healthier meals, snacks, and drinks at school – they’re also learning healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Read more »
Colorful displays highlight nutritious choices in school lunchrooms.
Teenagers at several schools across the country are working together with school nutrition staff to make changes to the school cafeteria. Informed by Smarter Lunchrooms’ research, these students are promoting healthful foods to their peers and having a say in menu offerings. Team Nutrition Training Grants help fund a number of school activities that engage students in nutrition education and wellness activities. To learn more about Team Nutrition Training Grant activities, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/team-nutrition-training-grants.
The following guest blog describes how Iowa high school students worked with school nutrition staff to alter the way fruits and vegetables are offered in their school cafeteria. Following the changes, other students have taken notice of the new colorful displays, creative menu names, and signs promoting the salad bars. Reading their story, you’ll learn about innovative ways to engage youth in school wellness efforts.
By Carrie Scheidel, MPH, Team Nutrition Co-Director, Iowa Department of Education
As teachers prepared their classrooms for the new school year, school nutrition professionals and students in Iowa were working to make their lunchrooms smarter. A partnership between the University of Iowa Public Policy Center – College of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, and five Iowa high schools worked to apply Smarter Lunchrooms’ techniques to make healthy choices easier at school. Read more »
There are many ways Team Nutrition schools are involving students in the development of school meal menus and health promotion activities. These activities can help schools offer nutritious foods in a manner that appeals to children and can help students learn about nutrition and school foodservice. This guest blog highlights promising strategies for involving students in school meals through the use of School Lunch Advisory Councils. It also describes how Montana students are playing a role in helping their schools implement Smarter Lunchrooms techniques to reduce food waste and increase consumption of healthful foods.
Interested in implementing Smarter Lunchrooms techniques at your school? Get started with this free self-assessment checklist from the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program. Team Nutrition provides nutrition education materials, training tools, and grants to assist schools in creating healthier environments. Learn more about Team Nutrition and how to become a Team Nutrition school at http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/team-nutrition. Read more »
If you haven’t heard the buzz, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s expansion of the Team Up for School Nutrition Success initiative is in full swing, with 20 completed trainings and 14 more scheduled for 2016. Team Up offers a unique learning experience that enhances schools’ food service operations through training and peer-to-peer mentorship to school nutrition professionals looking to maintain a healthy environment and encourage strong student meal program participation.
What exactly happens at a Team Up training? Ever had an “a-ha” or a “why didn’t I think of that” moment when a friend shares a really great idea? Team Up is where “a-ha” moments are shared among school nutrition professionals and turned into action back via their school meals programs. Let’s break down a Team Up workshop to see how these “a-ha” moments transpire. Read more »
SuperTracker Lesson Plans for High School graphic
The start of the school year is a great time to get high school students thinking about the nutrition and physical activity choices they make. USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) and Team Nutrition have a variety of resources available to support high school educators as they guide students on their path to good health.
SuperTracker Lesson Plans for High School Students
CNPP has just released updated SuperTracker Nutrition Lesson Plans for High School Students. This free nutrition education resource for teachers, schools, and health educators helps students grades 9-12 learn how to build a healthy diet using MyPlate and SuperTracker, an interactive food and physical activity tracking tool. Originally released in 2014, the lesson plans have been updated to reflect the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and two new lessons have been added. Read more »
Cortez Middle School students sampling produce from the garden.
From the west coast to New England, rural communities across the country are implementing community food systems’ strategies. The projects are bringing more local food into school meals, promoting healthy eating habits and expanding markets for American farmers and producers.
The USDA Farm to School Grant Program is proud to support these efforts. Over the past four years, approximately four out of ten schools impacted by the program are in rural communities. We look forward to supporting similar projects in the future and are currently accepting applications for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding. Visit our grant opportunities page for more information.
To celebrate the release of the FY 2017 RFA, we are highlighting two projects that are having a big impact in their communities. Read more »