Tag Archives: myplate

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  Walks to and from school have been replaced by car and bus rides.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?

The Latest on School Nutrition: New USDA Standards

Last August the School Nutrition Association released their “The State of School Nutrition 2011,” which found many school nutritionists and foodservice workers eager to provide healthier menu items at their schools.

Image: Jeltovski/MorgueFile

Unfortunately, many schools cited monetary reasons as to why they were unable to enhance menus.  Other schools just hadn’t made the switch yet.

There’s been a huge emphasis on school nutrition and health since Michelle Obama stepped into her role as first lady.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed in December 2010, the food pyramid was revamped into MyPlate and Mrs. Obama initiated the Let’s Move! campaign, which aims to create a healthier generation of children.

So while some things have just been encouraged or implemented as guides, come July 1, schools will have to start making changes based on the USDA’s new standards.

The new standards were announced on Jan. 25 and stem from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.  Per the USDA’s website, the new rules are to:

  • Offer fruits and vegetables to students daily

    Image: margey6652/Morguefile

  • Increase offering of whole grain-rich foods
  • Provide only fat-free or low-fat milk
  • Limit calories based on age so students receive their appropriate portion size
  • Reduce amounts of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium

Schools must begin making changes at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, but will have three year period to implement all revisions.

While some critics say more can be done for school nutrition, many are pleased, including Sarah Wu, former anonymous blogger for her blog Fed Up with Lunch (also known as Mrs. Q, read our October interview with her here).

“I think it’s really great, actually,” she said. “I’m pretty pleased with them and it’s definitely a good step in the right direction.  There’s more we can do, but I’m totally happy.”

Image: Fed Up with Lunch

One of Wu’s biggest concerns goes back to the reason why many schools hadn’t made the move to healthier items in the first place: money.

“I think I’m concerned about how districts will make it work with the money they have,” she said.

According to the USDA, the price of school menus will increase by six cents—which is the first big increase in the last 30 years.

To compensate, the USDA will increase funding to cover the six cents.  However, Wu pointed out despite the increased funding, she mentioned it’s been said the cost for the new standards may actually be 11 cents per meal.  If that is the end result, the five cent difference could be challenging for schools.

“There are ways instead of having to absorb those losses,” Wu said, and wonders if schools could get in touch with local non-profits, foundations, have fundraisers, etc.

“There have to be ways people can engage and help.”

Image: imelenchon/MorgueFile

So cost aside, Wu and many others are pleased with these new standards.

In the USDA’s press release, they also had other improvements they would like to make such as to have nutritional standards apply to all ways students get food and beverage (i.e. vending), have “common-sense pricing standards for schools” and provide training and technical assistance to help schools comply with the new standards.

To view more information about the new guidelines, including links to sample menus and more, visit the USDA’s website.

How do you feel about the USDA’s new standards? Schools, how will this impact you directly?

 

Foodservice Industry Year in Brief: 2011

Image: ppdigital/MorgueFile

Every Friday we bring you the week’s top news stories in our Foodservice Week in Brief.  As 2011 is coming to a close, here’s a special edition with Central’s top blogs for 2011 then resources from the foodservice industry with their top news stories of the year.  Enjoy!

Top Central Blogs of 2011

January

New Proposed Rule by USDA for Nutritional Standards in National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs

February

North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) 2011 Trade Show

March

How Recent Events in Japan are Affecting the U.S. and Restaurants

April

Gas Prices and Restaurants, It’s All a Chain of Events

Image: NRA Website

May

NRA 2011: Product Trends and Innovations

June

Wordless Wednesday: Goodbye Food Pyramid, Hello MyPlate

July

What Do They Mean: NSF, UL and Energy Star Rated

August

The Latest News and Trends for College Foodservices

September

10 Creative Ways to Use QR Codes at Your Restaurant

October

Eating Gluten Free Q&A with Sarah Wu of Fed Up with Lunch

Image: Annika/MorgueFile

November

Many Diners Choose Restaurants This Thanksgiving

December

The Hospitality Industry’s Journey Through the NBA Lockout

 

 

 

Industry Resources for Top Foodservice Stories of 2011

Big Hospitality

Looking Back at 2011–The 10 Most-Read Stories in Hospitality

QSR

Most Popular QSR Stories of 2011

Image: ChooseMyPlate

Eating Well

Top 5 Healthy Food Stories of 2011

Zagat

The Biggest Food Stories of 2011

Nation’s Restaurant News

The NRN Year in Review: 2011

It’s been a great year! We thank you for being our reader and look forward to great things in 2012.  Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

 

 

School’s Back in Session! Top Five Resources for Your School Cafeteria

It’s August and many students are headed back to the classroom which means they’re heading back to your cafeteria. Now, more than ever, schools across the country are re-evaluating menus and updating standards to make students healthier and to promote food safety. Here are five great resources to get your cafeteria on the right track, or to help you improve current procedures.

Image from Let’s Move! website

Let’s Move!

What it’s about: First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to help raise a healthier generation of children.

How it can help your school: They provide guidance for everyone in the school from the principal to foodservice staff. Let’s Move! has brought on changes and updated standards to the National School Lunch and National School Breakfast programs and have also launched other initiatives such as Chefs Move to Schools and HealthierUS School Challenge

Important links:

Let’s Move! Healthy Schools

Chefs Move to Schools

The HealthierUS School Challenge

Five Simple Steps to Success

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Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)

What it’s about: FAAN is a credible and trusted source of information, programs and resources for food allergies and anaphylaxis. Their mission is “to raise public awareness, to provide advocacy and education, and to advance research on behalf of those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis.”

How it can help your school: They assist schools in food allergy training and protocol.  They also provide detailed information about the different types of food allergies.

Important links:

Safe at School Resources for Schools, Camps and Child Care Centers

Education for School Professionals

School Guidelines for Managing Students with Food Allergies

Food Allergy Action Plan

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National Coalition for Food-Safe Schools (NCFSS)

What it’s about: They improve food safety in America’s schools.

How it can help your school: NCFSS provides information specifically for foodservice staff on safely handling food.

Important links:

Food Safety for Foodservice Professionals

Action Guide—Materials for Each Team Member

Responding to a Food Recall

Food Safety Checklist (Word)

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School Nutrition Association (SNA)

What it’s about: SNA provides high-quality, low-cost meals to students and have been “advancing the availability, quality and acceptance of school nutrition programs as an integral part of education since 1946.”

How it can help your school: For one, if you aren’t already a member, you may want to consider becoming one (click here for information).  SNA has some information available to the public on their website, but membership includes extensive education and training.  SNA sets standards through certification and credentials, gathers and shares several kinds of important school nutrition news, legislation, etc., and represents the nutritional interests of all children.

Important links:

Resource Center

Preparing School Meals

Menu Planning

Teaching Kids About Nutrition

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Other Initiatives

What it’s about: The government and other programs have updated standards and have released new information about nutrition in schools.

How it can help your school: These resources will keep your cafeteria current with the latest initiatives and standards and/or will give you ideas for improvement.

Important links:

MyPlate

Cafeteria Composting Plan

World Health Organization (WHO) Global School Health Initiative

USDA School Meals

Central’s Week in Brief: June 24, 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) Keeping up to date with legislation pertaining to the restaurant industry can be hard.  This week, Nation’s Restaurant News posted this update which will inform you about the following five issues that could have an affect on your restaurant: Tip Credit, E-Verify, Corn-Based Ethanol Subsidies, Health Care Reform, Lending Regulations.

2) At the end of last year, we posted 10 foodservice trends for 2011.  To follow up to see how our list is comparing, this week Zagat posted “The 5 Hottest Dining Trends in 2011 So Far.” We’re pleased to see some of the trends such as food trucks and beer, are still on track and going strong!

 

3) We bid farewell to the food pyramid earlier this month when the government introduced MyPlate.  The USDA describes MyPlate as a “user-friendly visual” of the the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  This Food Safety News article covers the latest on MyPlate including some very helpful hints on how to stay on track.

 


4) Every Thursday in June we discuss how to use social media for your restaurant. To help encourage restaurants to become involved with social media, this recent article from The Social Graf reported on KN-CMR’s “The Faces of Social Media” study which found 38 million U.S. adults (18-20) said “they discover new products and brands or refer to social media before making purchase decisions.”

 


 

 

 

 

 

5) To curb obesity, school districts like the Central Nebraska School District are making changes.  This AP article, posted on the Daily Journal’s website, explains they have been “using a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.” This grant has helped them buy equipment, implement programs and train teachers and staff.  While they report 14 percent of the elementary school students are still obese, “three elementary schools have seen decreases in obesity ranging from 23 percent to 27 percent.”