It was another big year for school nutrition—and school breakfast, specifically—with lots of exciting changes in cafeterias across America. From school breakfast expansion in ten new districts through Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom, to the recent announcement that the USDA will lift the protein and grain limits, school nutrition has stayed in the headlines.
More fresh, local foods are “cropping up” on school lunch trays, while chefs-in-schools programs are growing in popularity. School nutrition programs are taking control of their messaging through the use of social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube; funding and grant opportunities—like those through Fuel Up to Play 60—are allowing schools to implement new programs, and expand existing ones to help build a healthier generation of students. These are exciting times to be a school nutrition professional.
Every now and again we like to aggregate some of our favorite school nutrition stories for you, in case you missed them. Read on:
Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel Up to Play 60—the program developed by the National Dairy Council in conjunction with the National Football League and USDA—was designed to empower students to take charge of their health through more physical activity and better food choices. Here are some of the latest headlines about how the program is benefitting schools and students.
- Ogilvie granted $4,000 for Fuel Up program (December 5, 2012): Ogilvie schools are using the funds to purchase equipment; specifically, a vending machine with healthy snacks.
- Contest sparks school breakfast growth (December 16, 2012): Funding from programs like Fuel Up to Play 60, among others, is helping schools in Colorado deliver healthy breakfasts to students.
- Middle School students ‘fueling up’ with good nutrition, exercise habits (November 29, 2012): Students at Switzerland Middle School (IN) are learning how to track eating and exercise habits to live a healthier lifestyle; a point system allows students to earn badges, making the exercise into a fun competition.
USDA Suspends Protein and Grain Limits
Facebook and Twitter were abuzz when USDA announced its decision to suspend weekly grain and protein maximums for the 2012-2013 school year. Here are a couple of articles that elaborate on the thinking behind the decision.
- USDA to allow more meat, grains in school lunches (December 10, 2012): This piece includes a short video segment.
- School Lunch Rules Bent to Allow More Grain, Protein—But Not Calories (December 10, 2012): Education Week’s take on the surprising change in policy.
More Produce, Chefs in School Kitchens and Cafeterias
Farm-to-school and chefs-to-school are growing trends in schools across the country. More school nutrition directors and managers are working with local producers and chefs in an effort to meet USDA fruit and vegetable requirements, and make meals more appealing to students.
- How do you change the way kids eat? Ask a chef. (November 21, 2012): Chef Tia McDonald writes about how chefs can help kids make the connection between food and health.
- Bringing the Farmers’ Market to Top of the World Elementary School (October 24, 2012): In California, a school nutrition director finds teachable moments for her students at the farmers’ market.
- What’s Hot in 201—Culinary Forecast Predicts Menu Trends (December 10, 2012): The National Restaurant Association surveyed more than 1800 professional chefs, and found that children’s nutrition and locally-sourced food are a top priority for chefs around the country.
As we approach the winter break, the School Nutrition Foundation wishes you a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year. We hope your vacation is restful and filled with wonderful times with family and friends. Thank you for a wonderful year at Beyond Breakfast!