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School Nutrition Association Recognizes Professionals who Serve Healthy Meals

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
301-686-3124 Ext.
media@schoolnutrition.org

School Nutrition Association Recognizes Professionals who Serve Healthy Meals

School Nutrition Employee Week is May 3-7, 2010

 
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (April 29, 2010) - Preparing healthy school meals, teaching good nutrition habits and offering a friendly greeting are all in a day’s work for more than 250,000 child nutrition employees in the nation’s 99,000 school cafeterias and kitchens.  The non-profit School Nutrition Association celebrates this professional commitment with School Nutrition Employee Week, May 3 – 7, 2010. The week offers an opportunity for parents, students, school staff and communities to thank those who provide healthy school meals to more than 31 million children each school day.

Despite working with extremely limited funds to prepare and serve each meal, school nutrition professionals are committed to providing safe, healthy and well-balanced meals. The average cost to prepare a school lunch is $2.92, but the federal reimbursement rate provided for each lunch served is only $2.68.  Balancing financially self-sufficient programs under these budget constraints is just one of the many day-to-day roles of school nutrition professionals.

Employees must follow numerous federal, state and local regulations, provide nutrition education to students, receive training in sanitation and food safety and oftentimes conduct healthy catering services to their communities to help cover financial losses.  They use their creativity to make the cafeteria a fun and welcoming place and perform their jobs each day because they care passionately about the children they serve.

The importance and nutritional value of school meals are well documented. For many children, school lunch is the most nutrient-rich meal of their day. 

“The role of school nutrition professionals is more important this year than ever as more families rely on the federal child nutrition programs,” said SNA President Dora Rivas Rivas, Executive Director of Food and Child Nutrition Services for the Dallas Independent School District in Texas.  “School nutrition professionals in communities nationwide deserve praise and appreciation for their outstanding work providing healthy, nutritious meals to children every school day and for their creativity in making school nutrition programs excel in tough economic circumstances.” 

SNA’s 2009 School Nutrition Operations Report emphasizes the strides and changes being made each year by school nutrition professionals dedicated to providing high quality, nutritious school meals. In school lunchrooms nationwide, school districts are offering:

  • fat free (skim) or low-fat milk (99.0%)
  • fresh fruits and vegetables (98.8%)
  • whole grain items (96.3%)
  • pre-packaged salads or salad bars (91.1%)
  • and vegetarian meals (63.9%)

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. 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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