It’s been another outstanding year for healthier school meals programs and the millions of American students that benefit from them. Today, more than 97 percent of schools nationwide report they are meeting the updated school meal standards, which are based on pediatricians’ and nutritionists’ recommendations. The new meals provide children more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, as well as less sugar, fat, and sodium. There are numerous examples of how schools are providing a healthier school environment with more nutritious options to students across the country, but below are just a few:
1. A Student’s Perspective: How Fuel Up to Play 60 Supports Farm to School
Andrew is a Wisconsin seventh-grader and Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador. In collaboration with USDA, Fuel Up to Play 60 serves as an in-school nutrition and physical activity program to help encourage young people to lead healthier lives.
2. Wisconsin Team Nutrition’s Whipping Up Wellness, Wisconsin Student Chef Competition
The Team Nutrition Training Grants are awarded as part of USDA’s Team Nutrition initiative, which provides resources, training, and nutrition education lessons for schools and child care providers. Wisconsin Team Nutrition has used the funding to build their healthy cooking contest for the states’ middle and high school students.
3. Recess Before Lunch – The Secret Ingredient of Montana’s School Lunch Program
Montana Team Nutrition has implemented a popular and successful Recess Before Lunch (RBL) program. Through this initiative, Montana students enjoy active play right before indulging a nutritious school lunch meal allowing them to return to class ready for academic success.
4. School Embraces Nutrition Standards to the Culinary Delight of Its Students
Locally-sourced fish baked in fresh herbs and oil topped with a fresh cilantro slaw…It sounds like a dish from a five star restaurant, right? This is just one of many recipes registered dietitian and director of nutrition services Jenn Gerard offers students for lunch in her California school district. Learn how Monterey Peninsula Schools embraced the new nutrition standards, using them as a springboard to enhance their impressive school meals programs.
5. School Lunch Equipment Grants Help Provide Healthier Meals to Students Nationwide
USDA supports our tireless school nutrition professionals as they work to provide kids the nutrition they need to learn and develop into healthy adults. USDA announced the availability of grants to help schools obtain much needed infrastructure to better serve nutritious meals, support food safety efforts, improve energy efficiency, and expand participation in school nutrition programs.