Tag Archives: lets move

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: August 24

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Check out these five stories from the foodservice industry from August 20-24.

First Lady Hosts First Kid’s “State Dinner” at White House

From Let’s Move!, Read Full Story

Alaska Teriyaki Salmon Wrap, Stuffed Tomatoes, Johna’s Pesto Pizza, Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Chicken and  are four of the 54 winning recipe entries that went into Let’s Move!’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook.

Although winners weren’t award-winning chefs with decades of experience, but rather young chefs between the ages of eight through 12.  They submitted their recipes through Let’s Move!’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, and for winning, were able to attend the first Kid’s State Dinner at the White House, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.  (And crashed by President Barack Obama).  Winners came from all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Northern Marina Islands.  Check out Let’s Move! to learn about winners, see select recipes and to download a copy of the cookbook.

Colorado Hospital Foodservice to Test Charging Less for Healthier Items

From Food Management, Read Full Story

The statement, “I would eat healthier if it wasn’t so expensive,” is a very popular one.  Well one hospital cafeteria is making that an unacceptable excuse. The Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colo. has launched a pilot program that will run through the fall titled the “Healthy U” program.

A Food Management article said this program has changed pricing so healthier foods will cost less.  The cafeteria hopes the lower prices will help customers choose the healthier items.  As an example, Food Management said a vegetarian hamburger will be $2.25 a regular beef burger will now cost $3.

Nation’s Restaurant News’ Special Report on Health Care

From Nation’s Restaurant News, Read Full Story

When President Obama’s health care law was upheld in June, many members of the foodservice industry became concerned as to how it would affect their business.  Under the new law, NRN said employers with 50 or more full-time employees are required to offer health insurance to them and their dependents, otherwise they will have to pay a penalty.  They added this new law doesn’t go into affect until 2014 and many of the requirements are unknown.

In a NRN article released shortly after the law was upheld (in June), they quoted Vice President of Government and Shareholder Relations for White Castle, Jamie Richardson, who had concerns about the unknowns and said, “The biggest thing still is the uncertainty about how the rules are going to be written.  It needs to be made actionable in the real world in a way that doesn’t cripple business.”  Because of the many concerns similar to Richardson’s, NRN put together this article, “Health Care Compliance Advice for Restaurants” to help.

College Foodservice’s New Rival: The Food Truck

From The Wall Street Journal, Read Full Story

The day in the life of a college student includes rushing from one end of campus to another, many times leaving only 15 minutes to eat, study, or get to their next class.  Cafeteria lines get long, which is something food trucks are helping students with.  However, the rise in food trucks is not the greatest for campus foodservices.

Some foodservices have exclusive rights to serve food per their contract with a college or university while others don’t.  According to a Wall Street Journal article, food trucks have become many campus foodservices’ competition.  They spoke with several students who said they enjoy the variety food trucks bring.  So what’s a solution?  WSJ said there are currently about 100 university-ran food trucks across the county, and there are other campuses who work with local food trucks and grant them special access to park and serve.  The food truck industry has certainly given college campuses something new to think about and possibly new approaches to serving students.

Healthy Weekend Recipes

From Various Sources, See Below

Looking for some new menu ideas for the weekend?  You would be surprised how many great recipes are floating out there that are healthy.  Here are a few unique recipes we found to help you boost creativity.  Happy cooking!

Delish: Light Beef and Eggplant Lasagna

SkinnyTaste: Baked Corn and Crab Cakes

Hungry Girl: Taq’ a Breakfast

Food Network: Mom’s Turkey Meatloaf

Eating Well: White Pizza with Clams




A Deeper Look At New USDA Guidelines for Schools

In last Tuesday’s blog, Central looked into schools serving meals three times a day—and it really shows just how times have changed.  Thanks to a rough economy, many children eat over half to all of their meals at school during the week.

In general, “the school meal” has been a hot topic, perhaps really kicking off in 2010 when the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed and First Lady Michelle Obama started the Let’s Move! campaign.

It’s been a few years since those initiatives have been put in place and with anything, there are always changes and revisions.

On January 26, the USDA released new guidelines to improve nutritional quality.

To summarize, schools will have to offer more fruit, vegetables and whole grains, provide fat-free or low-fat milk, limit calories based on age and reduce saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.  Also, every three years school lunches will be reviewed to ensure they are consistent with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.  (Further detail of changes reviewed later on in this blog).

Schools will have to start to implement these changes on July 1, 2012—which kicks off a three year phase for all of the changes included in the document, “Nutritional Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.”

At a whopping 80 pages, this document is no quick read and is a lot of information to sift through. Because there are so many revisions, the USDA isn’t leaving schools in the dark.

On March 1, the USDA released a very informative (and shorter) document, “Questions & Answers to the Final Rule, “Nutrition Standards in the School Lunch and Breakfast Programs,” which focuses on specific changes piece by piece.

It’s not surprising the very first question is, “Why is USDA setting new meal patterns and dietary specifications for school meals?”

Well, the signing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was a huge step in school nutrition because it was the first change in the last 15 years.  So, going back to the concept that “times have changed,” they really have.

In this chart by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the rise in childhood obesity is clear.  From 1963 to 1970, four percent of six to 11-year-olds were overweight, and 5 percent of 12 to 19- year-olds.  There were subtle changes from 1971 through 1980, and then there was a big jump from 1988 to 1994 when the rate jumped to 11 percent for children between the ages of six and 19.

Today? Almost every one out of three children is overweight.

With many children getting many if not all of their nutritious meals at school, the USDA knew it was time for some changes to be made.

To go into further detail, the USDA lists the following as the main differences to the old rules and the new ones:

  • Food planning based on age and grade group
  • Fruits and vegetables now two separate food components
  • “Offer vs. Serve” approach, to have students choose at least a half a cup of fruits or vegetables
  • Weekly grains ranges along with a daily minimum requirement—and by the third year, all grains served must be whole grain-rich
  • Only serve unflavored or flavored fat-free milk or unflavored low-fat milk
  • Minimum and maximum calorie levels
  • Two intermediate sodium target reductions, then a final one
  • Limit trans fat and saturated fat
  • Three year administrative review cycle

Currently, the new guidelines do not affect meals for children with disabilities or children in pre-kindergarten.

The three year administrative review cycle will start during the 2013-2014 school year.

The new changes and guidelines are extensive. But documents like the “Questions & Answers on the Final Rule” help to simplify. 

Here is a list of some helpful resources from the USDA, be sure to find all of them here:

Also, don’t forget to check out our blog from Tuesday March 19 about schools serving three meals per day.

Should Schools Be Serving Children 3 Meals a Day?

We all remember the images from the show, “Leave It to Beaver,” in which Wally and Beav, the two teenagers, would come home from school with their mother waiting—apron tied snugly around her waist—offering an after-school snack consisting of a turkey sandwich and glass of milk for each of the boys.  Dinner would be in the oven, of course, usually a nice meatloaf, with corn, mashed potatoes, and a pie perched in the window to cool down.  No matter what the case, Dad would always make it home for dinner, laughing, smiling, sharing stories and eating—TOGETHER.

Times Have Changed

Oh, how times have changed.  It’s 2012, and unfortunately, in most cases, both Mom and Dad are forced to work, if their lucky enough to find a job.  The recession has caused chaos, driving up the cost of living.  According to the Huffington Post, 15 percent, or 46 million, of Americans live below the poverty line.  If you include those who are living paycheck to paycheck, it equals out to be about half of the American population.  Unfortunately, this translates to food allowance as well, resulting in many families having only one meal a day.

Before 2010, the USDA School Meal Programs (including the School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program) offered breakfast and lunch to low-income children at a free or reduced price, those children often went home to a pantry with little to no food.  According to the website strength.org, hunger affects students’ ability to concentrate, makes them more susceptible to sickness, and affects their emotional health.  Schools nationwide began to notice the impact of hunger on those affected by the recession and knew something had to be done.  Thankfully, President Obama stepped up to the plate in 2010, and introduced the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which expanded the afterschool meal program to all 50 states, improved the area rules so that more kids were eligible for the program, extended the program into the summer when school was out, and improved the quality of the food to include healthier choices.  Before the program was introduced, only 13 states were covered, and the majority of states only gave out snacks.  With the act signed into law, there will be about 21 million additional dinners served by 2015.  Advocates for the poor praise Obama for signing the law; yet, there are also critics that think the law is taking away from time that needs to be spent with the family.  As Rush Limbaugh stated, “Why even send the kids home?”

But Does Family Dinner Equal Better Outcome for the Kids?

A paper written by Washington State University professors, Martha Marino, MA, RD, CD and Sue Butkus, PhD, RD, focused on the importance of eating meals together as a family.  According to their research, the benefits of eating together include: better communication, better school performance and better overall adjustment; they were less depressed, less likely to do drugs, exhibit difficulty at school and get in trouble in school.  They also found that those children who ate meals with their families ate more fruits and vegetables, drank more juice and less soda.  Mothers in the Nutrition Education Network of Washington’s focus groups said, “When we eat together, we eat better.”

School meals have also proven in the past to be higher in fat, saturated fat, and sodium—but so is the diet of the average American nowadays.  Thankfully, the Obama administration noticed in increase in obesity in children and in 2010, First Lady, Michelle Obama, introduced the “Let’s Move” campaign, which emphasized healthy families, communities and schools by exercise and good nutrition.  The USDA has now placed guidelines that will improve the nutritional quality of school meals on a daily basis.  The First Lady announced on February 10, 2012 that 2,862 schools have now met the HealthierUS School Challenge, surpassing the goals of this key component of her Let’s Move! initiative.

The Debate Continues

So while the debate still goes on as to whether schools should be stepping in to serve three meals a day to children, at least those children least fortunate than others are now getting healthier food and going home with full tummies, as opposed to the alternative.

As Kate Lareau, a Memphis-based not-for-profit grant writer that works with people in a south Memphis housing project, said, “Do we need to provide all three meals? I’m not sure,” she said. “But I personally know children who don’t get any food after they get home. I don’t want those kids to be hungry for sure.”

Hot Topics and Products in the School Foodservice Industry

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of news on how school cafeterias are improving and becoming healthier environments for students.  So what’s the latest?  From going local to the top foodservice products, here are five hot topics in the school foodservice industry.


Many schools across the country are choosing to buy local and/or grow their own food.  This helps students learn the importance of eating healthy and teaches them a thing or two on what it can do for a community.  Based on a Feb. 2 press release, Chartwells School Dining Services said in 2011, they purchased $3.17 million in local food and worked with schools and farms all across the country.  Another benefit is the chance to introduce students to new items.  Schools in Snohomish County in Washington told HeraldNet they’ve served students “snap peas, mandarin oranges, jicima sticks, plutos and roasted Brussel sprouts.”

Healthier Vending Machines

Many schools have been providing healthier foods outside of the cafeteria in areas such as vending machines and are filling them with fruit, yogurt, vegetables, etc.  But we may soon see legislation to put healthier items in vending machines and less junk food—perhaps even putting a ban on certain items.  According to a recent New York Times article, no details have been released.

Salad Bars in Schools

One of the branches of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign is Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.  The goal of this campaign is to increase the number of salad bars in schools and help students make healthier choices.  To date, according to the Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools website, they’ve raised just over $3 million and have granted over 1,154 salad bars—with a goal to raise $15 million.

Meatless Monday

Earlier this week, we covered how restaurants were providing meatless options on Fridays for Lent.  Friday’s aren’t the only days some people go meatless.  There’s another campaign that’s been around for a long time that schools have jumped on board with called “Meatless Mondays.”  Wondering how to get your school involved? Check out one of their lesson plans.

Most Popular Purchased Items

Schools are one of Central’s primary customers.  So what are some of the most purchased items from schools lately? Here’s a list provided by Product Consultant, Andrew Kemp:

What are some of the hot topics your school has been following this year?

Schools to Celebrate National School Breakfast Week

During the week of March 5-9, schools and organizations across the United States will celebrate National School Breakfast Week to highlight the importance and availability of the School Breakfast Program.  Each year, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) creates a theme that starts in January and runs through National School Breakfast Week.  This year’s theme is “School Breakfast—Go for Gold.”

SNA’s goal with this campaign is to help students learn the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. They also mention it lines up with the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.

SNA has put together several resources on their website to get schools back on track and ensure they have all the tools they need for a successful breakfast program.

The also want to make sure students, parents and the media know:

  • The School Breakfast Program is available for schools
  • There is an established link between breakfast and academic success
  • Eating a nutritious breakfast is important as it helps children keep at a healthy weigh

It’s extremely important for children to maintain a healthy weight.  According to the Let’s Move! website, every one in three children is overweight.

“Thirty years ago, most people led lives that kept them at a height weight,” Let’s Move! said. “Today, children experience a very different lifestyle.  Walks to and from school have been replaced by car and bus rides.  Gym class and after-school sports have been cut; afternoons are now spent with TV, video games and the internet.  Parents are busier than ever and families eat fewer home-cooked meals.  Snacking between meals is not commonplace.”

The good news is, as Let’s Move! went into its second year this February, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said they didn’t see a rise in childhood obesity.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, MyPlate and the new standards for school meals are a few of the many factors that have helped in the fight against childhood obesity.  Now the goal is to give children the tools they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

For all information about this year’s National School Breakfast Week, including tools and resources for schools, visit SNA’s website.

Will your school be celebrating National School Breakfast Week?

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: 2/10

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for February 6-10.

Image: penywise/MorgueFile

Restaurants are Following in QSR’s Lead
From Chron.com, Read News Release

In a recent news release from The NDP Group, when it comes to the restaurant industry, they discovered fast casual or QSRs (quick service restaurants) are in the lead.  According to their study, QSRs have been the only segment to show growth in the nation’s current economic situation.  Because of their success, restaurants are now following suit to increase sales.  Read the full news release on Chron’s website.

McDonald’s Shamrock Shake to be Available in All U.S. Locations
From Washington Post, Read Article

Each year there are many restaurants with signature limited time offers–one of the most popular being McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.  This year McDonald’s has stepped it up and has made the shake available in all of their locations across the country.  According to the Washington Post article, the decision to put the shake in all stores was made by customer feedback.  Read the full story on the Washington Post website.

Image: click/MorgueFile

Happy Birthday, Let’s Move!
From CBS News, Read Article

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign entered into its second year of combating childhood obesity on February 9.  And what greater birthday present to get than to hear this quote from Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: “For the first time in a long time, we did not see a rise in obesity rates.” The CBS article points out some of Let’s Move!’s many accomplishments such as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and the revision of the food pyramid to MyPlate.  Vilsack also told CBS about their 2012 goals which include increasing the number of schools involved and to help children learn better eating habits for their every day lives.  Read full article on the CBS website.

National Restaurant Association Boosts Restaurant Involvement for “Kids LiveWell” Initiative
From NRA, Read Press Release

On the same day as the second anniversary of the Let’s Move! campaign, NRA announced the amount of restaurants participating in their “Kids LiveWell” initiative has tripled since it first began in July 2011.  The initiative was put in place to give parents better and healthier menu options for their children at restaurants.  According to NRA, restaurants can become a part of the initiative by meeting specific qualifications based on “leading health organizations’ scientific recommendations.”  Read full news release on the NRA website.

Image: kakisky/MorgueFile

Valentine’s Day at Restaurants

As Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, restaurants are gearing up for the event with special menu items and promotions.  Here are a few we found:

Need an idea for a promotion at your restaurant? Check out this article, “10 Valentine’s Day Promotions For Your Restaurant,” by Amanda MacArthur, Managing Editor for Swipely.

To keep the conversation going, let us know what your foodservice establishment’s plans are for Valentine’s Day! Special menu? Unique setting?

Comment on Facebook or let us know on Twitter and use #CRPvalentine.



Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: December 16

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for the week of December 12 through December 16. 

Let’s Move! Breaks Jumping Jacks World Record
From Let’s Move Blog, Read Full Story

Back in October, we reported about Let’s Move attempting to break the world record of the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period.  The record they had to beat was 20,000.  This week, First Lady Michelle Obama took to the Let’s Move blog to announce the good news–not only did they break the record, but by a large number!  The grand total was 300,265.  To read the full story, including a video from Mrs. Obama, visit the Let’s Move! Blog.

More Gluten-Free and Heart-Healthy Meals
From NY Daily News, Read Full Story

Image by Ariadna on MorgueFile.com

This year there’s been more awareness to food allergies and also to healthier menu items.  The NY Daily News reported there has been a 61 percent increase in gluten free menu items.  What’s more interesting is not all of the customers requested gluten-free menu items because of a medical condition.  Then also, according to the article, 73 percent of customers wanted to know menu nutritional content.  Read the full story on the NY Daily News site and take their poll regarding gluten-free menu items.

People Choose Restaurant Gift Cards
From Nation’s Restaurant News, Read Full Story

In a recent National Restaurant Association study,they reported approximately one of every five people will give the gift of a restaurant gift card this year.  Towards the end of 2011, we’ve read there will be an increase in restaurant sales–and this article’s estimate that people will on average spend $155.43 on gift cards will certainly help! Read the full story on the Nation’s Restaurant News site including more interesting survey results.

Image by Ronnie Bergeron on MorgueFile.com

Food Trends for 2012
From Huff Post Food, Read Full Story

Last year Central put together a list of foodservice trends for 2011.  Well more and more websites are posting their different trends for 2012, including this one from Huff Post Food, which takes a close look at specific food trends.  Some on the list include fast casual Asian, french dips, pretzels and more food trucks.  For a slide show on all trends, including pictures and explanations, visit Huff Post Food.

FoodBuzz’s “Today’s Top 9”
From FoodBuzz, Read Full Story

On the FoodBuzz website, they put together a list of the top nine recipes for the day, which were submitted to the site from website contributors.  Menu items include candy cane marshmallow pops, sweet potato pie oatmeal and mint cookies ‘n cream.  Take a look at all nine items including pictures and recipes on the FoodBuzz website.      


fast food, image from morguefile

Central’s Week in Brief: October 21, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!


1)      Have you ever taken a trip to McDonald’s and felt like the only thing missing was a TV?  If so, then your fast food experience will soon be complete with the premiere of an in-store McDonald’s television channel.  The channel’s programming will be community specific and include everything from local news to movie previews and about eight minutes per hour of advertising as well.   According to the L.A. Times, “The venture, which has already been tested in L.A., San Diego and Las Vegas, is expected to reach 18 million to 20 million people a month, which ChannelPort executives said would be one of the largest daytime audiences in the region.”


2)      In what may seem like a setback for First Lady Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move campaign, the U.S. Senate has voted against an effort to limit potatoes in school lunches.   This limitation of potatoes and other starchy vegetables to a maximum of two servings per week was part of an effort to combat childhood obesity and promote serving healthier vegetables.   Time Healthland says the ban “…angered the potato industry, some school districts and members of Congress from potato-growing states, who say USDA should focus on the preparation instead and that potatoes can be a good source of fiber and potassium.”  In the end, it was judged as more important to find a balance in what is served and how it is prepared rather than putting a limit on servings.


3)      In the nation’s current economy, Detroit has suffered more than most.  One big example of this hardship is the budget cuts for 43 of the city’s soup kitchens and food banks.  While many might feel that they could do nothing, 65 popular restaurants and caterers have decided to step up to help those in their community by participating in the “Feed the Need” program.  By taking part in the program, restaurants will prepare and cater lunch once a week for those in need at Detroit’s Cass Community Center. The Detroit News says, “More than 12,000 meals are expected to be served annually.”  The program, originally started in South Carolina by Detroit native Mickey Bakst, is expected to expand to six other cities in the near future.


4)      Starbucks announced that it will be introducing a light roast (aka less strong) version of their coffee called the “Blonde” roast.   While Starbucks is traditionally known for their dark roasts, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, they are aiming “to attract the estimated 40 percent of American coffee drinkers who say they prefer a lighter roast flavor.”  This change is also an effort to compete with lighter coffee roasts from outlets like McDonald’s which has become a bigger player in the coffee market in the past few years with the introduction of their McCafe line.



5)      Halloween season is upon us and while this holiday is traditionally associated with candy there’s nothing wrong with switching it up a little.  If you’re throwing a special party at your school or restaurant or just looking to serve up a creative new dessert check out these Chocolate Spider Web Cake in a Jars from the I Am Baker blog.   Not only are they festive and a little creepy, but they’re also a great, simple way to personalize a treat for each guest.