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SNA Press Releases

Students “Vote for School Lunch” in National Election

(110) Permanent link

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Erik Peterson
703-739-3900 ext. 124

Students “Vote for School Lunch” in National Election, Learn More About Healthy Meal Options

August 31, 2007, Alexandria, VA – The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) invites students nationwide to cast their ballot and participate in this year’s ‘Vote for School Lunch’ campaign to learn more about healthy meal choices at school.   Marking the second round of lunchroom elections in the three-year national campaign, this year’s candidates include Jesse Wrap, Pippa Potato, Patty Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Biff Burger and Yumi Rice Bowl.

The candidates are campaigning on their platform of sound dietary values, great taste and lunchroom versatility to be announced this year’s favorite school lunch on Monday, October 22.  Students can learn more about candidates and cast their vote online now through National School Lunch Week, October 15-19, at www.VoteForSchoolLunch.org.  The 2007 winner will go on to compete in the 2008 Presidential election against Pete Pizza – the 2006 and first-ever ‘Vote For School Lunch’ campaign winner – and three student-designed ‘Design a Candidate’ contest winners.

The ‘Vote’ campaign and activities will help educate parents and students on the nutritional programs available in schools and reveal the many ways school lunches have evolved.  In addition to getting students excited about making healthy choices in the lunchroom, the campaign will relay facts on what balanced school meals consist of today.

The campaign will be supported by incentive giveaways such as signs, buttons, stickers, mugs, t-shirts and hats during National School Lunch Week (NSLW).  Additional programs can include:

  • Design a Candidate: students draw, sketch or design new candidates and submit to their school contests. Up to three winners from each school can be submitted to a national panel to be judged and three national winners will be professionally re-created to run in the 2008 ‘Vote’ campaign
  • Election day: schools set up voting booths and establish a voting day
  • Costume contests: students and staff create fun costumes and dress up as their favorite characters.
  • Cafeteria debates: members of the student government represent each candidate
  • Essay contests: invent a Cafeteria Bill of Rights or amend the Cafeteria Constitution
  • Recipe write-ins: solicit entries for creative versions of each candidate
  • ;Media campaigns: Get school paper/broadcast journalism department to “follow the campaign trail”

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

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 State of School Nutrition 2007 Report, out of 1,200 school districts surveyed a majority of schools offer fat-free or low-fat milk (97%), fresh fruits and vegetables (96%), salad bars or pre-packaged salads (88%), yogurt and yogurt drinks (81%), from-scratch baked items (63%) and vegetarian meals (52%).

National School Lunch Week was established in 1963 by a proclamation from President John F. Kennedy. It is designed to help raise awareness for the important role that school nutrition programs play in the lives of America’s children.  Each year, the School Nutrition Association helps schools celebrate NSLW with an official theme, suggested menus and recipes, promotional resources, activity sheets, decoration ideas and more.

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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School Nutrition Association Finds Districts Increasing Healthy Options

(110) Permanent link

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900 Ext 124
epeterson@schoolnutrition.org  


School Nutrition Association Finds Districts Increasing Healthy Options
 “State of School Nutrition 2007” survey of 1,200 foodservice directors released today


ALEXANDRIA, Va., August 7, 2007 – An emphasis on healthy school environments and increasing availability of nutritious foods was indicated in results from the School Nutrition Association’s comprehensive “School Nutrition Operations Report: The State of School Nutrition 2007,” released today.  In addition to following federal dietary guidelines, more than 87% of school districts have nutrition requirements for the foods and beverages sold by school foodservice, up 30% from 2005.  Three out of five school districts also have nutrition restrictions for foods and beverages sold by groups outside the cafeteria such as PTA’s, athletic departments and student governments, a four-fold increase from two years ago.  Many of the positive changes cited are due in part to the implementation of local wellness policies this past school year.

Last released in May 2005, the updated State of School Nutrition 2007 report was accumulated from a survey of 1,200 school nutrition directors nationwide and benchmarks detailed information impacting school nutrition programs. The report found a majority of schools offer fat-free or low-fat milk (97%), fresh fruits and vegetables (96%), salad bars or pre-packaged salads (88%), yogurt and yogurt drinks (81%), from-scratch baked items (63%) and vegetarian meals (52%).  Additionally, the availability of locally grown fruits and vegetables has increased to 32% of schools.

"The findings from this survey are a clear indication of the tremendous strides made by school nutrition directors, managers and employees nationwide to help children make the right food choices," said School Nutrition Association president Mary Hill, SNS, and executive director of Child Nutrition Services for Jackson Public Schools in Mississippi.

The State of School Nutrition 2007 covers demographics and operational parameters, programs and policies, breakfast and lunch service types, food safety measures, foodservice budget issues, marketing and customer service and pressing concerns. Among the findings:

  • Breakfast is available in 96% of districts; traditional cafeteria style, a la carte service, breakfast-in-a-bag and classroom service are the most prevalent service styles cited.  After-school snack and summer foodservice programs are now offered by 47% and 43% of districts, respectively.
  • Respondents identified funding as the most pressing issue facing school nutrition directors nationwide. Childhood overweight, the cost of food/food preparation and implementation of local wellness policies were seen as the next most pressing issues.
  • Formal policies are in place in more than eight of every ten districts on:
    • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
    • Use of foodservice facility by groups other than foodservice
    • Nutritional requirements of foods/beverages sold by school foodservice
    • Procurement policies and bid practices
    • Crisis management plan/emergency preparedness plan
    • Food safety
    • Time of day certain foods/beverages can be sold

  • A significant decline was seen in branded fast food offered by school nutrition programs.  Local pizza restaurants are the most prevalent commercial brands cited, seen in only 7.3% of the districts as part of their reimbursable meal service and 7% as part of their a la carte service.  Food from the four major fast food chain restaurants are offered by less than 1% of the districts.
  • Nine out of ten school districts involve students in taste testing at least some of their new menu items, on par with the 2005 Report findings.
  • Meal charges show consistent rates of increase over time. The average charge for full-paid lunch reaches $1.66 for elementary schools, $1.85 for middle schools and $1.90 for high schools. A similar pattern is seen for breakfast charges, with average prices reaching $0.97 in elementary schools, $1.03 in middle schools, and $1.05 in high schools. One-third of school districts increased the price of a full-paid school lunch in the past school year, with an average increase of $0.15 per meal across elementary, middle and high schools.
  • A majority of districts, 62%, presently use an automated payment system, up 11% from two years ago. Of the automated payment systems presently in use, 71% allow parents to monitor or limit what students can purchase. The prevalence of these systems peaks in the smaller districts.
  • Open-campus lunch programs continue to decline, with only a quarter of respondents reporting that their district has an open campus lunch. As in the past, the greatest concentration of open-campus lunch is seen at the high school level, cited by 24%.
  • About 86% of districts report that an HACCP program has been implemented in all of their schools across all grade levels. This represents a major increase from the levels seen in past surveys, jumping from about 35% four years ago.

The State of School Nutrition 2007 represents the feedback of almost 1,200 school foodservice directors from districts in 49 states. The survey was conducted in spring of 2007. Copies of the full report can be ordered from the School Nutrition Association’s online bookstore at www.schoolnutrition.org.

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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