National School Lunch Week is the conclusion of a three month campaign that began in July.
School Lunch–What’s Cooking?
“School Lunch–What’s Cooking?” is based on the revisions made to school nutrition guidelines and has focused on showcasing how schools have adapted to the changes.
These changes were implemented on July 1, 2012 by the USDA and increased the amount of fruit, vegetables and whole grains in schools. It also updated dietary restrictions.
Schools Are Stepping It Up
The School Nutrition Association explained this year’s theme has been “about celebrating positive changes that have been made in school lunch programs across the country.”
They also added that schools have really stepped it up and can showcase their work and share their ideas through this campaign.
National School Lunch Week is a great way for schools to share what they’ve done and bring awareness to healthy meals. The School Nutrition Association encourages schools to get involved on their website and through Facebook. Stories and successes submitted to their website will have a chance to be featured in the April 2013 issue of School Nutrition Magazine.
Articles and Resources
For more information about National School Lunch Week, visit some of these resources:
On July 1, the first phase of the new school nutrition guidelines was implemented. Some of the changes include more servings of fruits and vegetables, minimum ranges for meat/meat alternatives, more whole grains and fat-free (unflavored/flavored) milk or 1% unflavored low fat milk.
It’s no surprise that Joey Chestnut has won the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for the sixth year in a row. According to HuffPost Food, Chestnut ate 68 hot dogs (with buns) in 10 minutes. So what do you get for being the winner of the contest? $10,000. Tim Janus of New York placed second with 52 hot dogs, winning $5,000 and Patrick Bertoletti of Chicago placed third with 51 hot dogs, winning $2,500. Sonya Thomas from Alexandria, Va. was the winner of the women’s competition, with 45 hot dogs.
The National Restaurant Association announced their new branding initiative on Monday July 2. “The fresh, new visual identity will help build cohesiveness in the NRA’s brand structure and is a step in its multi-year strategic plan to strengthen the connection and message to core constituents,” they said.
Read full article, view new logo and videos on the NRA’s website.
While American food trucks have seemed to reach a whole new level of popularity over the last couple years, they actually date back all the way to the late 17th century. Mobile Cuisine has compiled a historical timeline and journey of “the food truck.” According to their timeline, it began around 1691 in New York City (then known as New Amsterdam) with street vendors using push carts to sell food.
The town of Bethel, Alaska, located in the southwest part of the state with just over 6,000 residents, doesn’t have many restaurants– especially fast-food restaurants. And unfortunately for them, it isn’t easy to just travel to a different city for more dining options as their next closest city is Anchorage, approximately 400 miles away. So one could only imagine how excited residents were when they started to see signage around the town announcing Bethel was getting it’s own Taco Bell. Sadly, it was all a hoax. According to a Time article, it was a prank between two residents that blew out of porportion. However, once Taco Bell got wind of the situation, they knew they couldn’t leave the town hanging and flew in all the ingredients for 10,000 Doritos Locos Tacos.
In late January of 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsak introduced new standards for school meals. These new guidelines will be implemented in phases all the way out to the 2022-2023 school year, with the first phase beginning on July 1 for the 2012-2013 school year.
Introduction and Links to Bookmark
With schools needing to implement changes on July 1, Central is ready to help in any way possible. Below is an overview of the new guidelines and list of products that can help with new portion requirements. Don’t hesitate to call one of our Product Consultants at 800-215-9293 with any questions on your school foodservice needs.
Below is a recap of the new guidelines that are to be implemented on July 1. See a complete overview slideshow in full detail, including upcoming school years, on the USDA website.
To make it easier to find information, each new requirement below includes the corresponding slides. Other important items to bookmark are:
The USDA has provided a Lunch Meal Pattern for all food items (slide 9). Below find details on each requirement for the July 1, 2012 implementation with links and slide page numbers to refer to for all information.
More lunch requirements are going into effect on July 1 on menu planning, age-grade groups, offer vs. serve and monitoring. Review the USDA’s Implementation Timeline for details.
The USDA has provided a Breakfast Meal Pattern for all food items (slide 25). Below find details on each requirement for the July 1, 2012 implementation with links and slide page numbers to refer to for all information.
Need new equipment? Below are suggestions by Product Consultant Dan Merriman. Again, don’t hesitate to contact a Central Product Consultant at 800-215-9293 with help on the new guidelines and purchasing equipment.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.”
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?
Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for Jan. 23-27.
Progress with School Nutrition From USDA, Read Blog
There’s been much buzz over school nutrition over the past few years, especially though the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This week more progress was made when the USDA announced the new standards for school nutrition. Some of the changes include more fruits and vegetables, only only offering fat-free or low-fat milk and basing calorie counts on a child’s age so they get the accurate portion size. For the full report, read the USDA’s blog.
Restaurants Adding To Menus
This week seems to have had quite a bit of news with restaurants adding to their menus. Here are few of the places mentioned:
Starbucks: Beer, wine and additional food items (i.e. hot flatbread)
Taco Bell: Breakfast with items such as egg or sausage burritos, hash browns, Cinnabon and coffee
Vancouver Restaurant Sells One Expensive Hot Dog From The Canadian Press, Read Article
Depending where your restaurant is, what the occasion is etc., a typical price for the standard hot dog can be anywhere from $1 to $3. Sometimes you might hit an event where it’s more expensive. However one Vancouver restaurant has developed a hot dog that really has stepped it up–in both toppings and price. According to a HuffPost Food article from The Canadian Press, DougieDog Hot Dogs has created “The Dragon Dog” which consists of items on the hot dog such as cognac, Kobe beef and lobster. All at a pretty penny, of course… it’s only $100. There’s much more to this hot dog, visit Huff Post Food to read all about it.
Restaurant Super Bowl Deals Out
From Nation’s Restaurant News, Read Article
There are certain events the restaurant industry can benefit from and the Super Bowl is definitely one of them. According to the National Restaurant Association, approximately 48 million Americans will order takeout or delivery while watching the big game and 12 million will go out to a restaurant. NRN went into some detail looking into some of the special deals going on. Be sure to let us know what your restaurant is doing below! Read more on the NRN website.
Indianapolis Foodservice Impacted by the Super Bowl From Central Restaurant Products, Read Blog
Image: Indianapolis Super Bowl Press Center
For most cities across the U.S., Super Bowl Sunday is a big day. But for Indianapolis, they’re actually getting 10 big days! This year Central’s hometown of Indianapolis is hosting Super Bowl 46.
There’s a lot that takes place in a city when a Super Bowl is coming to down and it dramatically affects all businesses–foodservice industry especially. Central talked to different restaurants, food trucks and other organizations to get the scoop and a behind the scenes look on what it takes to prepare for the big game (and all that comes with it).