Where does your middle school student's lunch money go? Imagine that you give your student $2.50 to buy a meal at school. Here are the choices he or she faces every day. Click on the arrows to learn more.
March is National Nutrition Month, a time to focus new energy on giving kids healthy food options throughout the school day. Students consume up to half of their daily calories in school, so access to wholesome meals and snacks is important to their overall health. In fact, research shows that students living in states with strong nutrition laws gain less weight than those in states without such policies.
Jessica Donze Black, director for the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, calls the modification change a “pragmatic and scientifically sound decision,” and San Francisco-based school food reformer Dana Woldow agrees: “[The calorie caps] will automatically limit the amount of potentially fatty protein and grains going into the meals. I think the days of seeing giant cheeseburgers the size of your head in school cafeterias may be over.”
Kids consume up to 50 percent of their daily calories at school, so access to healthy meals and snacks is important to their overall health. This is especially true for the 21.5 million students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals and rely on food served in school to meet their nutritional needs. More info
The majority of public schools in California are serving meals that meet updated, healthier nutrition standards. To do so, half of the state’s districts are cooking more meals from scratch. Scratch cooking can be challenging for schools—particularly those in older buildings—without the right kitchen tools for efficient preparation of healthy foods. More info
How do you store extra servings of fruits and vegetables so schools can serve students the healthy foods they need to learn? Two school food service experts outline the importance of school kitchen equipment so that personnel have the right tool for the right job. More info
This is the second in a series of reports that summarizes how schools are putting in place updated U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, meal standards and the challenges they must overcome to reach full implementation.
Only 1 in 10 school districts nationwide (12 percent) has all the kitchen equipment needed to serve healthy foods, according to a new report issued by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. The report makes recommendations for how schools, policymakers, industry, and philanthropic partners can work together to make these investments and provide healthy, appealing foods more efficiently. It is the first national assessment of districts’ kitchen equipment and infrastructure needs.
"In other words, children will be able to buy only foods that their parents would find generally acceptable,' says Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a non-profit, nonpartisan group helping to improve school foods for our kids. If your school participates in the National School Lunch Program (most public schools in the country do), they must adhere to these new snack regulations by the start of the 2014 school year.
The Pew Charitable Trusts offers thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their commitment to ensuring that all students have access to safe and healthy foods through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. More info
Students in Maine School Administrative District No. 52 thought it was uncool to eat school meals. In high school in particular, meals that were nutritious enough to meet the federal government’s reimbursement standards bore the stigma of being for poor kids who couldn’t afford to bring their food or buy the more expensive a la carte options. The result: Few students ate complete, balanced meals with fruits and vegetables, and the school food service program was awash in red ink and losing $100,000 a year. More info