"All over the region, little pockets of activity are coalescing into a collaborative Food Revolution a la Jamie Oliver, the British chef who champions healthier food in schools and elsewhere. Last fall at the One Young World conference held here, he challenged Pittsburgh to revamp its eating habits -- and Pittsburgh's delegates took him seriously."More info
''School lunches are getting an extreme makeover.
Gone are fried tater tots, chicken nuggets, chocolate milk, and pepperoni pizza. In their place are heaps of whole grains, veggies, fruits, and low-fat dairy products, along with baked versions of formerly fried favorites such as chicken nuggets or fish sticks.
Students will also be seeing less salt and trans fats thanks to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. There are also calorie caps on the lunches: 650 for elementary school students, 700 for middle schoolers, and 850 for high school students.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rolled out the new school lunch menus at the start of the 2012-2013 school year for the 32 million students who take part in the National School Lunch and obesity programs. Previous school meal standards were developed 15 years ago and did not reflect current nutritional guidelines.
The menus are intended to help stamp out childhood and teen obesity in the U.S. As it stands, one in three kids in America is overweight or obese. And diseases linked to obesity that were once seen only in adults are now increasingly being diagnosed in kids. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
"If kids try before they buy, they may be more likely to give it a shot," says Jessica Donze Black, RD, MPH. She is the project director for the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project at the Pew Health Group.
“Big picture, this is a good idea,” Black says. Schools that saw the changes coming had already tweaked their menus and are not experiencing any resistance from students."
- Date added:
- Oct 2, 2012
"With childhood obesity — and other health issues and nutrition requirements — increasing in schools, Williamsburg-James City County is focusing on providing nutritious meals to students."More info
"Representatives from National Food Group handed out samples of what could be on next year’s menu. Students sampled beef barbacoa with roasted vegetables, whole grain cheese ravioli with chunky marinara sauce and baked cod filet. Other items were cranberry oatmeal bars and breakfast items oatmeal chocolate vertical bars and berry apple crisp vertical bar."More info
"The Pew Charitable Trust recently issued a statement recognizing this as a significant step to help children nationwide. The School Food Modernization Act would help schools improve their meal programs in two ways. One part of the legislation would authorize a USDA competitive grant program through which schools could obtain training and technical assistance for foodservice employees."More info
Jessica Donze Black, director of the Pew Kids' Safe & Healthful Foods Project, speaks with Education Week about a bipartisan bill that would provide money for school kitchen upgrades.More info
Jessica Donze Black, project director for Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, is featured in Time magazine article about healthy school lunches.More info
"Recent changes to the federal school lunch program require more fresh fruits and vegetables to be served, but many schools in Iowa and across the country lack the fridge space needed to store large quantities of fresh produce, the Republican lawmaker said."More info
Jessica Donze Black, Pew’s expert on childhood nutrition, issued the following statement on the School Food Modernization Act.More info
"The USDA is updating the existing nutritional food standards set in 1979, which will require all snack foods sold in public schools to meet new health standards."More info
"Marty Tatara has succeeded with 'Six Cent For Child' certification, which will increase federal funding for nutrition in Madison City Schools."More info
"Orange County Public Schools are continuing to offer up a host of different lunch options to students throughout the county, expanding their taste buds through different food choices."More info
"High school students don't need to have access to caffeine on campus. Snacks sold at elementary and middle schools shouldn't have as many calories as those sold at high schools. And maybe schools shouldn't have vending machines or a la carte lunch lines at all."More info
In the absence of a national policy, school snack food standards vary by state. Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, speaks with The Washington Post about this issue.More info