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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.
Chairman Lincoln Introduces Child Nutrition Reauthorization Legislation
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (March 17, 2010) – US Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has officially launched Congressional efforts to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, which reaches over 31 million American children participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs each day. Today, Chairman Lincoln introduced the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a draft reauthorization bill which offers a strong first step toward strengthening these programs and acknowledges the need to increase funding for school meals.
“School Nutrition Association greatly appreciates the efforts of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Lincoln to promote good nutrition for America’s school children and looks forward to working with members of the Committee throughout the Reauthorization process to ensure the critical needs of school meals programs are met," stated SNA President Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS and Executive Director of Child Nutrition Services for Dallas ISD (Tex.). “Despite extremely limited budgets, school nutrition programs provide students well-balanced meals and are seeking crucial funding increases to further improve meal programs and include more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains.” The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act includes many critical improvements to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs which SNA has advocated for, including:
While the legislation would boost funding for the federal child nutrition programs by $450 million per year, including a performance-based 6 cent increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches, additional efforts are needed to reach the $1 billion per year increase requested by President Barack Obama.
For additional information SNA’s legislative priorities for Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2010, please see SNA's 2010 Legislative Issue Paper.
SNA is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 53,000 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.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 - Complete Bill (pdf)
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Contact: Alexis Steines
SNA Announces Four New “DISTRICTS OF EXCELLENCE”
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (March 17, 2010) The School Nutrition Association and the School Nutrition Foundation announced that Dallas Independent School District in Dallas, Texas, Polk County Public Schools in Bartow, Florida, Willamina School District in Willamina, Oregon, and El Paso Independent School District in El Paso, Texas have received the District of Excellence in School Nutrition distinction.
District of Excellence is based on the Keys to Excellence, which provides an opportunity for school districts to assess their program against the industry’s standards and has been a core component of SNA’s professional development and training programs since 1992.
“This designation from the School Nutrition Association is a great honor because it recognizes the dedication and excellence of local school food and nutrition operations and the tremendous effort they take to make school meals attractive, nutritious, and affordable. These four school districts have achieved quality school nutrition programs and we congratulate them on their accomplishments and their commitment to excellence in school food and nutrition management,” said SNA Executive Director Barbara Belmont.
District of Excellence recipients may also be invited to apply for the prestigious District of the Year Award which includes a grant of up to $25,000. The District of Excellence and District of the Year programs are made possible through the School Nutrition Foundation with the support of the National Dairy Council.
To learn more about the District of Excellence program or to download an application, please visit www.schoolnutrition.org/keys.
SNA 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.
The School Nutrition Foundation, established in 1964, is a non-profit corporation that provides high-quality professional development, financial aid and research programs to child nutrition professionals and members of the SNA. The Foundation’s commitment to the child nutrition community is integral to implementing positive changes in school meals and, ultimately, to the health of school children.
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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
School Breakfast – Ready Set Go! - School Breakfast Program Helps Students Make a Healthy Start to their Day
National Harbor, MD, March 5, 2010 – Next week, school districts across the nation are hosting “School Breakfast – Ready Set Go!,” a campaign to introduce students to the importance of school breakfast and demonstrate how eating a school breakfast prepares you for a busy day at school. The campaign, created by the non-profit School Nutrition Association with support from General Mills Foodservice, culminates during National School Breakfast Week, March 8 to 12, 2010.
Everyone can agree on the importance of breakfast to student achievement, yet too many children miss out on the most critical meal of the day. Numerous studies have shown that breakfast can improve a student’s memory, test scores, school attendance and cut down on visits to the school nurse. Research has also shown that children who eat breakfast each day have a higher intake of vitamins and minerals and maintain a healthier weight than those who skip.
Fortunately, every school day, the National School Breakfast Program fuels more than 10.6 million students for success. The program is both critical to maintaining the health and well-being of children who are eligible for free or reduced price meals, and it provides a great alternative for children who don’t want to eat breakfast at home.
“The morning routine for many families can be so hectic, and some children just aren’t hungry before they leave for school,” said Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS, President of the School Nutrition Association and executive director of Food and Child Nutrition Services for the Dallas Independent School District in Texas. “Knowing that your child can eat a healthy breakfast once they get to school can be a huge relief for parents.”
School breakfast provides the necessary energy to start a day of learning and achievement, providing 25 percent of the recommended daily allowance of protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C and calories and meeting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
All school meals are served in age-appropriate portion sizes and schools have many different serving techniques - from ‘grab and go’ bags and hallway kiosks to breakfast in the classroom and traditional cafeteria service. Many schools are offering breakfast at no cost to students because of the proven value of eating breakfast. School breakfast today includes whole grains found in cereal, cereal bars and bagels, as well as fruit and low fat dairy including milk and yogurt.
The positive effects that eating breakfast has on students’ performance in school continues to grow as more schools are serving breakfast. The School Breakfast Program has been in place for about 40 years and today over ten million children eat school breakfast everyday.
The National School Breakfast Program was established in 1966. Since 1989, National School Breakfast Week has been raising awareness of the program and the links between eating a good breakfast, academic achievement and healthy lifestyles.
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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
703-739-9300 Ext. 124
School Nutrition Professionals Deliver Message To Congress: "Don't Short-Change Our Children's School Meals"
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (March 2, 2010) – More than 750 school nutrition professionals from across the nation were on Capitol Hill today, calling on legislators to support healthy school meals in upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation.
As part of the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) 38th annual Legislative Action Conference, these professionals met with members of Congress to discuss school meal issues, including adequate funding for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs and providing the Secretary of Agriculture authority to develop consistent, national nutrition standards for all foods and beverages served during the school day.
SNA President Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS, testified on behalf of the association at the House Education and Labor Committee’s hearing on child nutrition programs.
"For the 31 million children who eat school lunch each day, the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act is much more than just another congressional debate,” says Rivas, who is also Executive Director of Child Nutrition Services for Dallas ISD (Tex.). “It means nutrition for a hungry child, fuel for a successful school day, a healthy solution for a busy parent and a chance for children to learn about balanced meals and establish lifelong positive eating habits."
In addition to increasing the federal reimbursement rate for school meals, SNA members are also urging Congress to require a consistent, national nutrition standard, based on the Dietary Guidelines and in accordance with recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, to govern the sale of all foods and beverages sold during the school day.
Throughout SNA’s conference, which featured a speech by First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday, Rivas has stressed the challenges faced by school nutrition programs working to further improve the meals they serve. “Preparing healthy, well-balanced school meals while meeting federal nutrition standards and staying within budget is a tremendous challenge for cash-strapped school districts. This week, the School Nutrition Association is calling on Congress to follow the President and First Lady’s lead and provide school nutrition programs with critical funds for healthy school meals."
First Lady Obama acknowledged the tremendous efforts of school nutrition professionals and the need to increase support for school meals programs, addressing the group yesterday, “if you asked the average person to do what you have to do every day, and that is to prepare a meal for hundreds of hungry kids with just $2.68 a child – with only $1.00 to $1.25 of that money going to the food itself – they would look at you like you were crazy.
“That's sad, but that's less than what many folks spend on a cup of coffee in the morning. So we're going to have to do everything we can to help you.”
SNA, representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals, is a proud partner of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign and has committed to multiple initiatives to further improve the nutritional quality of school meals and advance nutrition education for America’s students.
A complete list of SNA priorities for Child Nutrition Reauthorization is available at: http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Blog.aspx?id=13463&blogid=622.
SNA’s Legislative Action Conference will culminate tomorrow in a morning session featuring US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and key congressional leaders charged with developing the Reauthorization legislation governing the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. Speakers include:
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack US Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) Representative Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.)
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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