Pears in Schools

Recently, I attended the School Nutrition Association (SNA) conference in Denver, Colorado. SNA focuses on nourishing students to achieve overall wellness and lifelong success. Just like all healthcare practitioners, SNA professionals are concerned with the obesity, diabetes, and heart disease epidemic. School lunch has been a controversial topic for some time, stemming from the difficulty of meeting nutritional standards via child-friendly meals under a host of restrictive parameters, including limited kitchen space, staff, skills, time and budget. I spoke with many nutrition and school professionals and the one thing that we all agree on and are striving to accomplish is increasing kids’ fruit and vegetable consumption. And the United States Department of Agriculture agrees; the federal register requires schools to increase the offerings of fruits and vegetables and to meet nutritional needs of school children within their calorie requirements.* The Continue reading

USDA to Add More Fruits and Vegetables to School Lunches

Approximately 32 million children eat school lunch every day. With few updates to nutrition requirements over the last 15 years, these U.S. schoolchildren are about to see some big improvements! Since almost 1 in 3 children ages 6-19 in the United States is overweight or obese, it’s fitting that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has chosen to focus on increasing fruits and vegetables to limit obesity. As part of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, the portion of fruits and vegetables served to children will double at each meal; fruits and vegetables contain energy, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water, necessary nutrients to enhance the health and wellbeing of every child. Additionally, only low-fat milk (nonfat or 1%) will be available, more whole grains will be offered, portions will be more appropriate, and there will be reductions in sodium, Continue reading