FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
Jamie Oliver Misses a Few Ingredients
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (March 22, 2010) – Just like any good meal, the whole story is also incomplete if you leave out a few critical ingredients. In the case of ABC Network’s Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, the missing ingredients are the significant improvements school nutrition programs nationwide have made to the quality and nutrition of school meals.
The School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) “State of School Nutrition 2009” survey of more than 1,200 school districts across the country found that nearly every school district offers students fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and salad bars or pre-packaged salads. Most schools still bake items from scratch in their kitchens, and school districts are offering more vegetarian meals and locally sourced foods. School nutrition programs have reformulated kid favorites to make them healthy, like pizza prepared with whole wheat flour, low-fat cheese and low-sodium sauce.
Under the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, school meals must contain no more than 30 percent of calories from fat and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. School lunches must provide 1/3 of Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, and they must be served in age-appropriate portion sizes.
"School nutrition professionals must satisfy taste preferences and regional or cultural food influences to provide meals within nutrition guidelines that will be consumed by the students. Working within those guidelines and limited budgets, districts strive to provide a balance of fresh and homemade foods alongside nutritious pre-prepared kid favorites. Whole grain chicken nuggets that are baked at schools are not the same product served at most homes and restaurants," said School Nutrition Association president Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS and Executive Director of Child Nutrition Services for Dallas ISD (Tex.), "Children are increasingly recognizing and enjoying scratch-made and natural foods at schools nationwide, much like those suggested by Jamie Oliver, but communities, schools and parents must work together to shift food influences, encourage a greater role for exercise and help students improve their health."
SNA and its members share a common passion with Jamie Oliver and are constantly working to further improve the nutrition, taste and variety of school meals. School nutrition professionals are challenged every school day to prepare healthy school meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines within the limited budgets available. SNA is calling for increased funding for school meal programs and we welcome efforts to emphasize the importance of school meals for the more than 31 million children who rely on them every school day.
SNA is an active participant in the national debate on school nutrition and can provide evidence of the progress made in school districts across the US to provide an even greater variety of healthy foods in school meals.
About School Nutrition Association:The School Nutrition Association (SNA), www.schoolnutrition.org, 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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