USDA’s new unseasoned chicken strip provides school chefs with versatile and healthy options.
School lunches have evolved since many of our childhood days to keep pace with new dietary guidelines and school meal patterns, but one food has been an enduring component: chicken. The popular protein graces the center of the plate in a variety of forms and flavors, and the new USDA Foods unseasoned chicken strip provides school nutrition professionals with a versatile and healthy option to add to their recipes. USDA develops new products for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) based on feedback from states and school districts. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how chicken flies the coop from farms to a pilot program to cafeterias across the country.
Did you know that on any given day, USDA Foods comprise 15 to 20 percent of the value of food served on the lunch line, or that the School Year 2015 Foods Available List contains more than 200 options? For more than 70 years, USDA has provided states with 100 percent American grown food for school lunches to support the dual mission of strengthening our nutrition safety net and supporting American agriculture. The unseasoned, non-breaded chicken strip is just the latest contribution to a long history of providing nutritious foods for school meals. Read more »
Students from District of Columbia Public Schools enjoy locally sourced fresh strawberries during the annual Strawberries and Salad Greens Day celebration this spring.
The following guest blog is part of our Cafeteria Stories series, highlighting the efforts of hard working school nutrition professionals who are dedicated to making the healthy choice the easy choice at schools across the country. We thank them for sharing their stories! To learn more about FNS nutrition assistance efforts, follow us on twitter at twitter.com/usdanutrition
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Through partnership, FNS and NFSMI will work with school food authorities to identify challenges and provide nuanced resources to promote a healthier school day.
As schools continue to move forward with serving healthier meals to tens of millions of our nation’s school children, there is a natural need for a model of sharing best practices. To provide that support, our partner, the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI), will pilot the Team Up For Success Training Initiative in the Food and Nutrition Service’s Southeast Region.
Through the initiative, schools will participate in a tailored training workshop and then enter into a peer-to-peer mentoring program designed to address their individual needs and resources. The pilot will be conducted with about 48 school food authorities to help schools implement the updated meal requirements while maintaining financial stability and student participation.
We appreciate all that the NFSMI is doing to help build a healthier next generation.
By Katie Wilson, PhD, SNS Executive Director National Food Service Management Institute, The University of Mississippi
Team Up for School Nutrition Success is an exciting new initiative of collaboration between USDA and the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) providing a peer to peer mentoring program for school nutrition directors. This first pilot in the Southeast Region includes over 100 attendees invited to discuss challenges, identify best practices, and learn about free resources available to them from a variety of allied organizations. Read more »
Louis Escobar, Rhode Island Dairy Farmer and President of Rhody Fresh Milk, speaking to students at Ferri Middle School in Johnston.
The following guest blog is part of our Cafeteria Stories series, highlighting the efforts of hard working school nutrition professionals who are dedicated to making the healthy choice the easy choice at schools across the country. We thank them for sharing their stories!
By Jane Q Vergnani, Nutrition Specialist for New England Dairy & Food Council
As a transplant Rhode Islander – or as my 4-year-old daughter says, “Little Rhody’er” – who has lived, gone to school and worked as a nutrition specialist for the New England Dairy & Food Council in the state for over seven years, I am passionate about helping students succeed.
Through my work with Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and physical activity program created by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, in cooperation with the USDA, I have the opportunity to visit and work with many schools throughout Rhode Island. Read more »
The following guest blog was submitted by Alida Duncan of the anti-hunger advocacy organization, Hunger Free Vermont. The implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) by many state partners across the country means that more students have access to free healthy meals at school. This policy can reduce food insecurity for the nearly 16 million children living in households that have trouble affording enough nutritious food. In Vermont, over 7,000 students are participating in CEP.
Guest Post By Alida Duncan, Hunger Free Vermont, Development & Marketing Director
Many kids aren’t getting the nutrients they need and some aren’t getting enough to eat at all. In an animated video produced by the anti-hunger advocacy organization, Hunger Free Vermont, Universal School Meals is presented as the solution for improving student health and academic performance, strengthening the local economy, and making schools a more welcoming place. Read more »
Students on a grocery store tour learn the importance of healthy choices.
Today’s Cafeteria Stories contribution comes from Dr. Robert Lewis of the El Monte School District in Southern California. Dr. Lewis describes the success that his urban school district has had with involving students in wellness. His district currently has 14 schools with Silver HealthierUS School Challenge awards.
Guest post by Dr. Robert S. Lewis, SNS, Director of Nutrition Services, El Monte City School District (Calif.)
At El Monte City School District, our students are actively involved in setting wellness goals, mentoring others, and participating in taste tests. For the past twenty years or so, the United States has seen a steady rise in childhood obesity and juvenile type 2 diabetes. These are the epidemics of our time. We can solve them. But it will take all of us working together. What does that mean or look like? That means community members will need to become more involved in student wellness efforts at the school level as well as the municipal level. Read more »