Lunchroom menu boards used to highlight the “targeted entrée” and promote theme days with creative and descriptive names for the entire reimbursable meal (Georgetown High School).
Through the Team Nutrition initiative, USDA provides grants to state agencies to expand and enhance their training and educational activities to help schools provide appealing and nutritious meals, nutrition education and healthier school environments. These efforts are designed to help children get the nutrition they need to learn, grow and be healthy. In addition to grants, Team Nutrition provides free nutrition education materials to schools, child care settings and summer meal sites that participate in the Child Nutrition programs.
By Samantha Therrien, graduate student, Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Program & Karen McGrail, MEd, RDN, LDN, Director, the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University
It’s that time again! As students head back to school many school nutrition programs across Massachusetts are continuing to use Smarter Lunchrooms strategies gained through their participation in a USDA Team Nutrition grant. The research-based Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, established at the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program, focuses on creating sustainable lunchrooms that make the healthy choice, the easy choice for students. The Movement is based on the idea that even small, low-cost changes can make a big difference, and Massachusetts schools are benefitting from this first-hand. Read more »
MyPlate has new resources for families working together toward a healthier lifestyle.
It’s that time again…back-to-school season is upon us. It’s an exciting time of year for kids, offering a new beginning with the promise of new friends and new experiences. It’s also a great time for families to establish a new routine and work together toward a healthier lifestyle. ChooseMyPlate.gov and Team Nutrition just launched new resources to help your family eat better together, including printable activity sheets, tips for making mealtimes fun and stress-free, and videos featuring real families who share healthy eating solutions that work for them. Read more »
Serving Spoons and Healthy Habits – Encouraging Positive Mealtimes and Supporting Family Style Meals in Child Care
From the foods we serve to the conversations we share, involving young children in mealtimes creates a positive eating environment for everyone to enjoy. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides almost 4 million nutritious meals and snacks each day to children and adults in child care and group day care settings. These mealtimes provide a tremendous opportunity to help children establish healthy eating habits. CACFP providers are engaging children in cooking, serving, and other mealtime activities as a way to get children interested in new foods and to encourage healthful eating behaviors.
On July 20, 2016, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) addressed these important topics by adding two new supplemental materials to an existing, comprehensive resource for CACFP providers, Nutrition and Wellness Tips for Young Children: Provider Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The new supplements, Create a Positive Meal Environment and Support Family Style Meals, offer fun ways child care providers can continue to create positive meal environments and adopt family style meals with children in their care. Through these practices, child care provides can help children try new foods, recognize foods from different food groups in a meal, and practice table manners. Both additions also offer tips and suggestions for including nutrition education activities during and outside of mealtimes. Read more »
4-H Delegates learn about Team Nutrition resources as nutrition education tools to take back to their schools and communities.
One key strategy in helping schools serve nutritious and appealing meals that students will eat is to simply ask, “What do you need?”
On April 9, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) asked this simple yet compelling question to nearly 40 4-H delegates at the 2016 National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, Md. USDA FNS hosted the roundtable session, “Healthy Eating in Schools: A Dialogue with USDA Food & Nutrition Service,” in an effort to give eager student leaders a chance to share their views on school meals and healthy eating. Participants came from all across the U.S. states and territories, from Nebraska to North Carolina, and as far away as Puerto Rico and a U.S. Air Force base in Japan. Read more »
Sesame Asian Noodle Chicken Salad; a new USDA recipe just posted!
USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services just released 50 new, mouth-watering recipes for schools chefs on our What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl website. Some are existing USDA recipes that we’ve updated, while others are brand new recipes that students will love. These tasty, kid-approved recipes are tailored for large quantity food service operations in 25, 50, or 100 portions. And each recipe includes a nutritional breakdown as well as crediting information on how the recipe contributes toward updated meal pattern requirements for the National School Lunch Program and other USDA child nutrition programs.
The 50 recipes include main dishes and side dishes featuring more nutrient-rich ingredients such as whole grains, dark green and red/orange vegetables, and beans/legumes than ever before. And an additional 150 recipes are being developed and will be posted throughout the next year! These recipes will provide a ready-to-go resource for school nutrition professionals looking for delicious, nutrient-rich dishes that will make it easy to meet meal pattern requirements and satisfy hungry kids. Read more »
Creative themes and fun games help summer meal sites offer nutrition education and active games.
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.
With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time for communities and parents to start thinking about activities for kids when school is out. With deliciously juicy local fruits and veggies coming into season and, in many areas, warmer weather that invites summer play, it may seem logical that keeping kids healthy would be easier during summer months. However, without the structure of school and afterschool sports, those lazy summer days can sometimes lead to constant snacking and endless hours playing video games and watching TV.
For some children, the summer months can mean food insecurity because they no longer have access to regular school meals. That’s where summer meal programs can help, not only by offering free healthy meals, but also by providing opportunities for nutrition education and physical activity. Read more »