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Pete Pizza Leads in Vote for School Lunch Polling

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
:
Contact: Erik Peterson
703-739-3900
epeterson@schoolnutrition.org

Pete Pizza Leads in Vote for School Lunch Polling

Students vote for their favorite healthy school lunch during National School Lunch Week, October 13 – 17, 2008 

ALEXANDRIA Va. (October 13, 2008) At town hall meetings, in school cafeterias and on the blogs, the talk is of flavor and favorites. In a tightly contested race, the polls put Pete Pizza – with a whole grain crust and lowfat cheese, ahead of the challengers: Biff Burger, Gloria Grilled Cheese, Petunia Pita Pocket and Larry Lasagna in the 2008 Vote for School Lunch – Presidential Edition. Since July, the five candidates have been wooing students from Alaska to Florida with whole grain goodness and low fat cheesiness all in anticipation of the election, held October 13 – 17, 2008, during National School Lunch Week. The third annual Vote for School Lunch campaign concludes October 24, 2008, when the School Nutrition Association will announce the wining 'candidate.'
 
Students nationwide are invited to cast their ballot online at www.VoteForSchoolLunch.org and in school cafeterias up until Friday, October 17, 2008. Those that ‘Vote for School Lunch’ will also learn more about healthy meal choices at school. This year’s candidates include Gloria Grilled with whole grain bread and lowfat cheese; Petunia Pita Pocket with whole wheat tortilla, veggies and lean turkey; Larry Lasagna with whole wheat pasta and spinach; Biff Burger with a lean patty and a whole wheat bun; and Pete Pizza with a whole grain crust and lowfat cheese.

The candidates are campaigning on their platform of sound dietary values, great taste and lunchroom versatility The third and final year of the "Vote for School Lunch" program features a heated battle between candidates Pete Pizza, winner of the first-ever election in 2006; Biff Burger, winner of the 2007 fall election; and three new contenders that were designed and submitted by students: Gloria Grilled Cheese, Larry Lasagna and Petunia Pita Pocket. Each candidate will relay the nutritional benefits of their school meal versions as well as their physical fitness and extra curricular activities.

Among the activities occurring nationwide this week:

  • In Jefferson County Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, students will be voting in the cafeteria as they sample all five of the candidates. Special guests expected to attend include U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer who will be lunching at Klondike Elementary School on October 15, 2008.
  • In Warren Consolidated Schools outside of Detroit, Michigan, Warren Mott and Sterling Heights High School creative writing students wrote campaign speeches for the five candidates. Middle school art students created campaign posters to display at their schools. A “Cafeteria Convention” will be filmed showcasing the winning speeches and broadcasted to elementary schools as a way to promote healthy eating habits and the Vote for School Lunch campaign.
  • In Wallingford, Connecticut, on October 14, 2008, Cook Hill School will host a “school lunch convention” with all five candidates making speeches. Festivities will include originally composed campaign songs, students serving as reporters covering the debates between candidates, and an obstacle course will be set up in the cafeteria to emphasize the link between physical activity and good nutrition.

SNA’s nationwide membership of 55,000 school nutrition professionals work in schools and in communities to provide balanced, nutritious school meals and information on proper portion sizes and nutrition education for children.
Within the federally funded National School Lunch Program:

  • Nationwide, 95% of schools participate and 30 million children are served daily
  • Dietary guidelines dictate no more than 30 percent of calories can come from fat and less than 10 percent from saturated fat
  • Over the course of one week, lunches must provide 1/3 of the Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium and calories
  • Well-balanced school lunches include protein, fruits and vegetables, grains and low-fat milk and are served in age-appropriate portions

National School Lunch Week which was established in 1963 by a proclamation by President John F. Kennedy. It is designed to help raise awareness of and garner support for the role that school foodservice and nutrition programs play in the lives of America’s children. The School Nutrition Association celebrates the event each year with a theme and promotional materials. Land O’ Lakes School Foodservice and MilkPEP provided support for this year’s campaign.

Signed into law by President Harry Truman, the National School Lunch Program provides nutritionally balanced low-cost and free meals to students.  Today, healthful options are available in schools nationwide.  According to the 2008 SNA Back to School Trends Report school districts are increasing the availability of whole grain products for the second straight year with 85.2% of school nutrition directors describing such policies in place in their school districts.  Reducing or limiting trans fats showed a sizeable increase in popularity since 2007, up to 81.8% from 73.6%. Other policies in place among a significant number of districts include: increasing the availability of healthier beverages in vending machines (74.6%;) limiting fat content of a la carte/vending items (71.8%;) reducing or limiting the amount of added sugar in foods (70.1%;) and reducing or limiting the sodium content in foods (57%), which was asked for the first time this year.

SNA, the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country.  The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

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