$35 Million to Help Schools Serve Healthier Meals, Strengthen Childhood Nutrition

Big news from the USDA!

USDA, NFL, Fuel Up to Play 60 Partner to Award

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Grants Will Improve Food Service Equipment, Upgrade Infrastructure Critical to Building Healthy Schools and Communities

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 5, 2016 – Amid pre-Super Bowl 50 celebrations today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and Paul Rovey, dairy farmer and leader of the National Dairy Council (NDC), announced the availability of $35 million in grants to help schools upgrade their kitchen equipment and infrastructure in order to offer students better access to nutritious foods.

Three in five students – more than 30 million children – rely on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program for one to two meals per day, however according to a 2014 survey, 88% of schools reported lacking at least one piece of equipment they needed in order to serve healthier foods . These grants will give millions of additional children access to more nutritious meals by providing schools with the funds to purchase additional equipment to help them meet updated national nutrition standards, and serve healthy meals with more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, and less sodium and fat.

In 2008, USDA, NFL, NDC, and GENYOUth partnered via Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and physical activity program to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives.

Together these partners share a commitment to support youth wellness through improved nutrition and by providing greater opportunities for physical activity through a public-private partnership to promote those behaviors among America’s youth. This $35 million investment will help sustain the progress that has already been made by schools across the country to ensure that America’s children are greeted by healthier school environments.

“Success at all ages begins with a healthy meal, and that is why at USDA we have worked to overhaul school meal standards to ensure kids have access to nutritious foods. This commitment from our partners will ensure schools have the equipment they need to provide kids with a well-balanced meal, promoting childhood health and wellness,” said Vilsack. “We applaud our Fuel Up to Play 60 partners for their continued commitment to child nutrition. This collaboration enables us to expand our efforts and have a broader positive impact on our youth.”

Since 2009, USDA has awarded $215 million in school nutrition equipment
grants, including $30 million being announced today
. USDA provides this funding to states, which then competitively award grants to school districts in order to purchase necessary equipment, giving priority to high-need schools where 50 percent or more of the enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced price meals. This year, Fuel Up to Play 60, who has provided more than $22 million in funds to schools throughout the country, is joining USDA’s effort by providing an additional $5 million through a separate, but concurrent, grant application process.

Schools can apply for USDA funding through their state, or for funds from Fuel Up directly through the organization’s website. In both cases, funding will support the purchase of new equipment and/or the renovation/replacement of equipment. Equipment may include large and small items including utility carts, utensils, large-capacity food processors, industrial scales, steamers, freezers etc. Infrastructure elements may include building needs related to physical space, electricity, plumbing, ventilation and other remodeling needs.

“This announcement not only helps further showcase our collective commitment to youth and community wellness, but also the powerful results that can be achieved through public-and-private partnerships,” said Alexis Glick, CEO, GENYOUth. “I am excited that the USDA and the NFL continue to join with us and America’s dairy farmers to positively impact today’s, and tomorrow’s youth by empowering them to live healthier lives.”

Schools that are interested in learning more about these grants should visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/nslp-equipment-assistance-grants.

i Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. “Give Schools the Tools to Prepare Healthy, Delicious Meals.” Give Schools the Tools to Prepare Healthy, Delicious Meals. The Pew Charitable Trusts, July 2015. Web. 21 Jan. 2016.

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About U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Vilsack, USDA has made significant and transformative investments in the lives of Americans living, working and raising families in the United States. Today, those investments are blossoming across the United States in the burgeoning bio-economy, an exploding local and regional food system, unparalleled investments in renewable energy, improved nutrition interventions for young people and low-income individuals, historic partnerships in conservation and greenhouse gas reduction, major contributions in rural infrastructure, and helping to lay the foundation for a new era for civil rights that will help ensure all Americans are treated with dignity and respect. In the area of nutrition, since 2009, USDA has made significant progress in maximizing the ability of our nutrition programs to fight hunger and improve health, while also ensuring that benefits are delivered efficiently and with integrity. USDA’s implementation of the historic, bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has led to 97 percent of schools meeting updated, science-based nutrition standards for school meals, ensuring that more than 50 million children have access to a healthier school food environment.

About National Dairy Council (NDC)

For 100 years, National Dairy Council (NDC), the non-profit organization founded by dairy farmers and funded by the national dairy checkoff program, is committed to nutrition education and research-based communications. NDC provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier nation, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. Established in 1915, NDC comprises a staff of registered dietitians and nutrition research and communications experts across the country. NDC is dedicated to promoting child health and wellness through programs such as Fuel Up to Play 60. Developed by NDC and the National Football League (NFL), Fuel Up to Play 60 encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. See more at: www.nationaldairycouncil.org

About GENYOUth

A leading nonprofit, GENYOUth brings leaders in health and wellness, education, government and business together in a movement to empower America’s youth to achieve a healthier future by uniting partners, raising funds and uplifting the student voice. GENYOUth has established itself as a thought leader in youth health and wellness and collaborates with its partners to convene experts, conduct research, publish perspective reports, and build programs that make a lasting difference in the pursuit of healthy, high-achieving youth. Founded in 2010 through a public-private partnership with the National Dairy Council and the NFL, GENYOUth has raised funds, increased visibility and commitment to school wellness among health and wellness leaders, educators, students, parents, community leaders and businesses. Learn more about GENYOUth partnership, volunteer and donation opportunities at www.genyouthfoundation.org, or contact us at info@genyouthfoundation.org.

About Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Football League (NFL) and National Dairy Council (NDC), founded by America’s dairy farmers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As a result of the program, 13 million students are making better food choices by selecting nutritious options like low-fat and fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Additionally, 16 million students are getting more physically active during the school day as a result of the program.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student contests. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.

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FCS Teachers – opportunity for free training on food supply safety in DC (includes travel!)

We wanted to share the following opportunity from FDA Summer Program – note the deadline to apply is April 18…

A Fantastic Summer Opportunity for Science, Family and Consumer Science and Health Teachers
Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues.

Foodborne disease outbreaks and food recalls frequent the news. What organisms cause these diseases? What can an individual do to protect themselves from these diseases? What measures are being taken by the federal government to prevent transmission of these diseases?

Middle Level and High School science, health, and family and consumer science teachers have an opportunity to provide inquiry-based lessons related to these outbreaks and recalls.  The lessons can be found in the curriculum Science and Our Food Supply developed jointly by FDA and NSTA. And, in order to prepare teachers to use these lessons, FDA provides a free multidimensional professional development program that will take place July 17 – 24, 2016 in Washington, DC. Included in the program is transportation to and from Washington and all housing and meal expenses.

During the program, selected teachers will participate in activities such as: meeting with FDA and USDA scientists to learn about their current research on food science; working with instructors at the microbiology lab at the University of Maryland to learn proper techniques to use in doing the microbiology labs with their own students; and, touring USDA’s farm in Beltsville, MD.

Selected teachers are asked to implement the curriculum in their classrooms during the 2016 – 2017 school year and to do a workshop on the curriculum for other teachers.

To apply on line – deadline April 18, 2016 – go to: http://teachfoodscience.org/apply.asp

The Science and Our Food Supply middle level and high school teacher’s guides on which some of the application questions are based can be downloaded here – http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/ToolsMaterials/ucm2006976.htm.

A new component to our curriculum – Science and Our Food Supply: Using the Nutrition Facts Label to Make Healthy Choices, will be available online in March. Watch for the notice to be posted on our website – http://teachfoodscience.org.

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Free I Tried It Stickers for National Nutrition Month

Free Stickers for National Nutrition MonthHere at Learning ZoneXpress, we are getting excited for National Nutrition Month! As you may know, it’s our favorite time of year.  This year, we have an exciting offer of FREE I Tried It Stickers with any order. These are a customer favorite used by nutrition professionals all across the nation to encourage children to try new foods, assist in cafeteria taste tests and more.

Use coupon code MNM16 at www.learningzonexpress.com to receive a free roll of I Tried It stickers with your purchase!

Expires 3/31/16. Not valid with any other offers. May not be applied to previous orders. Limit one free roll (905900) per order.

March is National Nutrition Month Bulletin Board KitInterested in more resources to celebrate National Nutrition Month? Learning ZoneXpress has a brand new March is Nutrition Month Bulletin Board Kit available for a limited time in addition to nutrition posters, handouts, incentives and more! Visit www.learningzonexpress.com to view them all and don’t forget to use coupon code MNM16 to receive 200 free I Tried It Stickers! Happy Nutrition Month!

 

 

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Video Librarian reviews Nutrition Starts Here: Smart Eating on a Budget

Nutrition Starts Here Smart Eating on a BudgetWe are thrilled with Video Librarian’s latest review of one of our new video releases…

Nutrition Starts Here: Smart Eating on a Budget ***

(2015) 19 min. DVD: $79.95 (downloadable teacher’s guide available). Learning ZoneXpress. PPR. Closed captioned.

Hosted by chef Marshall O’Brien, Nutrition Starts Here features bite-sized (sorry) vignettes showcasing nutritious food choices and strategies for taking control of what you eat. In the longest segment, “Simple, Tasty Slow Cooker Meals,” O’Brien shows viewers how to toss in a few simple ingredients and let a crockpot do the heavy lifting, while also offering food safety tips (particularly important if your dish starts with raw ingredients like chicken) and advice on testing appliances for proper temperatures to ensure safe meal preparation. “Tasty Whole Grains” looks at the nutritional differences between whole grains and refined grains, while “Understanding Portion Sizes” and “Label Reading” go together like salt and pepper—helping viewers determine how much food to put on their plates, and demystifying the complexities of product labels. While the program could have delved deeper into the “budget” part of its title, this is a solid introduction, overall, to making healthier eating choices. Recommended. Aud: J, H, P. (C. Block)

(January/February 2016 Volume 31, Issue 1)

Sneak a free peek…

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Statement from Secretary Tom Vilsack on Senate Progress to Reauthorize Child Nutrition Programs

Interesting to read Secretary Tom Vilsack’s staement on the move to reauthorize critical child nutrition programs. Just last week Learning ZoneXpress unveiled new dietary guidline support materials: 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines Poster2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines 11″ x 17″ Poster Set and 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines Handouts.)
2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines Poster

Statement from Secretary Tom Vilsack on Senate Progress to Reauthorize Child Nutrition ProgramsWASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2016 – In anticipation of legislation this week from the Senate to reauthorize child nutrition programs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack provides the following statement:

We are pleased the Senate is making bipartisan progress to reauthorize critical child nutrition programs. The Senate’s bill is a win for children, parents, schools and for our country’s future. It maintains our commitment to science-based nutrition standards for school meals and protects the advancements we have made in children’s health since the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Rather than diminish the progress made since the changes were implemented in 2012, the Senate’s bill ensures progress will continue improving our children’s diets, and it promises to end partisan battles about the future of our kids.

The bill is consistent with the approach taken at USDA all along, which is to provide reasonable flexibility for schools as they continue transitioning to the updated standards — an approach that is working. A 2014 Harvard study shows that in some schools, under the updated standards, kids are now eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit at lunch. A 2015 study by the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that kids ate nearly 20 percent more of their vegetables in the schools they examined after the standards were updated. And a study of schools in Washington State just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics found that the nutritional quality of meals chosen by students has improved since HHFKA was implemented, while program participation did not change. Multiple surveys have documented how the majority of parents and students like the new meals, and—most important—new evidence suggests after decades of a growing obesity epidemic that harmed the health and future of our children and cost our country billions, we are starting to see progress in preventing this disease. The bill sustains and supports this progress.

We applaud the Senate’s bipartisan progress and urge Congress to reauthorize these programs for our young people without delay.
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