School Nutrition Topics to Watch in 2015: Additional support for schools

meal-or-no-meal-school-lunch-training-gamePew Research recently  featured Five School Nutrition Topics to Watch in 2015, we wanted to highlight each over the next month. It’s great to see School Nutrition getting attention – but we know that everyone can use a help keeping an eye on the issues. Today’s topics is the Additional support for schools

Additional support for schools. Schools need resources such as updated kitchen equipment, staff training, and technical assistance to serve healthy meals and snacks. Last year, the federal government took steps to help address schools’ needs, which will continue into 2015. Among these efforts:

  • Congress passed a budget for fiscal year 2015 that includes $25 million for schools to purchase kitchen equipment. This funding builds on the $35 million appropriated and distributed to states for school food service grants in the past two years.
  • USDA launched the Team Up for Success pilot training initiative to identify challenges and to provide resources to promote a healthier school day. Through the initiative, schools addressed unique obstacles by participating in a training workshop followed by peer-to-peer mentoring; they will continue receiving assistance this year. The results of the pilot will help to inform future efforts to potentially expand the initiative.
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School Lunches Getting Healthier—The Facts from Pew

More than 30 million American children eat school lunches each day—a fact parents can feel good about. These tasty meals are healthier than ever before and help kids develop sound nutrition and eating habits. The video from Pew Charitable Trust shows how and why…

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Complimentary Activity for Nutrition Month!

Looking for activities to help celebrate National Nutrition Month? Learning ZoneXpress has you covered!  Kids will have fun and discover the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables with this FREE downloadable sample activity from our 54321+10 Fruits & Veggies Activity Books.

Download here!

eat a rainbow

The rest of this activity book features fun activities that challenge kids to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables throughout each day and is part of the Live 54321+10® for Kids Program, an easy to remember countdown that promotes six things kids can do daily to help promote good health.  This activity book would be a great addition to your celebration plans for National Nutrition Month!

Don’t forget…

Receive a FREE roll of 200 Kids Active MyPlate Stickers when you use coupon code MNM15.  Expires 3/31/15. Not valid with any other offers. May not be applied to previous orders. One-time use only. Limit one free roll of stickers (#906521) per order.

free stickers

Visit Learning ZoneXpress for additional March is Nutrition Month Resources!


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New Healthy Behavior Goals Handouts…Just In Time for National Nutrition Month®!

March is right around the corner which means National Nutrition Month® is almost here! Don’t miss your opportunity to join thousands of nutrition professionals in promoting Nutrition Month. There is still time to plan your celebration and Learning ZoneXpress is here to support all the wonderful work you do educating your clients and students to make healthy food and lifestyle choices.

We offer a diverse selection of nutritionally informative handouts, posters, prize incentives and more specifically designed for schools, WIC clinics, Extension Programs, and Public Health initiatives. Kick off your Nutrition Month celebration with our new “Set SMART Healthy Behavior Goals Handouts”.



These handouts are a great way to encourage your clients and students to improve their health and wellness. The front of this colorful tear-off tablet worksheet helps participants identify, plan and commit to nutrition, fitness and other wellness goals. The backside features a week long chart to record daily food choices and amounts of physical activity.Mary Beth Anderson, Director of Educational Resources at Learning ZoneXpress has this to say….”I feel that these new handouts will be a good resource for nutrition educators helping their WIC clients to set behavior change goals. They will also work as a great asset in any classroom setting.”  Visit Learning ZoneXpress for additional March is Nutrition Month Resources!

Happy National Nutrition Month® from everyone at Learning ZoneXpress!

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Healthy Food Financing at HHS

From the National Sustainable Ag Coalition

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a modified Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for fiscal year (FY) 2015, updated from last year’s announcement for Community Development Corporations (CDCs) under the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI).

HFFI is a tri-agency program administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury, HHS, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase the availability of healthy food in low to moderate-income under-served communities (rural, urban, and suburban) through the creation, expansion, and equipping of healthy food retail outlets such as grocery stores, corner stores, and farmers markets.

Healthy Food Financing at HHS

Administered by the Office of Community Services (OCS) within the Administration for Children and Families at HHS, this competitive grant program for CDCs, known as the Community Economic Development-Healthy Food Financing Initiative (CED-HFFI), seeks to fund projects that increase healthy food access in low-income communities and foster self-sufficiency for low-income families by creating sustained employment opportunities in low-income communities.

Like last year, a total of $9.5 million is available, with a maximum award amount of $800,000 per project. No match is required for this grant program. Examples of OCS HFFI-funded projects include financing the construction of grocery stores, providing direct assistance to farmers, supporting urban and rural farmers markets and retail markets, expanding existing food distribution businesses, and supporting food business entrepreneurs.

Projects funded with CED-HFFI funds can be non-construction or construction projects. For non-construction projects, the grant period is 3 years. For construction projects, the grant period is 5 years. Funds can be used for costs associated with either business start-up or business expansion activities and must work to serve a food desert and create a minimum number of jobs based on a formula provided in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Incubator development is permitted, so long as the focus of the incubator is healthy food, demonstrates substantial and specific job creation for low-income individuals, and is located in a geographic location within the community. Funds can also be used to provide loans to identified, viable participating businesses, and/or as an equity or stock investment.

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