Students gain a better understanding of the importance of maintaining healthy weight and as well as acquire a lasting knowledge around local food systems, food origins, how food gets to their plate and what the nutritional benefits of eating are. One of the most comprehensive studies on the impact of school salad bars is a 24-hour food recall study conducted in elementary school children (ages 7-11) from low-income households participating in a salad bar program in the Los Angeles Unified School District In this study, researchers found that introduction of a school salad bar in three schools resulted in an increase in frequency of fruits and vegetables consumed during the day (change due almost entirely to an increased intake at lunch) among the students. An increasing number of food service establishments already provide nutrition information on menus, posters, table tents, brochures and websites to promote nutritious and healthy restaurant-branded lifestyle programs.
Guidelines, recipes, and other resources for creating and promoting healthy, delicious foods in schools and at work sites. This may have skewed revenue in favor of HEALTHY schools because of the higher reimbursement of meals due to more students participating in the SBP and NSLP. The Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus provide unique guidance for the foodservice industry and bring together findings from nutritional and environmental science perspectives on optimal food choices, trends in consumer preferences, and impacts of projected demographic shifts.
This list is a valuable resource for any chef who wants to serve more meatless meals, or any consumer who wants to let their favorite eating spot know about healthy foods they can offer. All students have access to well balanced, healthy meals that provide the recommended amounts of nutrients and energy for optimal learning and child development. The young scholars will be introduced to new and exciting food items, nutrient facts, healthy eating habits, around the world themed meals and celebrations, all using local and fresh produce.
Districts are finding creative strategies to ensure that students have consistently nutritious choices and to engage kids in the development of healthy, appetizing meals and snacks. For example, more than 9 in 10 directors who expanded breakfast service to locations outside the cafeteria, such as classrooms, or increased grab and go” options said more students took advantage of school meals. Children are selecting more nutritious meals and eating more of the healthy entrees, fruits, and vegetables they take.
What foods should be provided in a healthy school food service. School food services can have a major impact on the foods and drinks that students are exposed to and consume. A school culture in which students actively choose nutritious foods and a healthy lifestyle supports learning and health outcomes for children and young people, addressing the rise in obesity and other preventable diet-related conditions.
Most schools offer nutrition counseling through dining services or the student health center. School Meals reviews and provides recommendations to update the nutrition standard and the meal requirements for the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. The committee notes that there are many interactions between the school meal programs and competitive foods in schools (for example, see the benchmarks in Chapter 6 Next Steps in Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools IOM, 2007).
A pre-post study design would be desirable, in which data on children’s intakes (both at school and throughout the day), meal participation rates, school food service operations, and school meal costs are collected at two time points: (1) prior to implementation of the revised Meal Requirements and (2) after implementation, allowing for a period of transition to fully adapt to the new requirements. Specifically, did consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain-rich foods increase at the school meals and across the day? The revisions to the Meal Requirements may also have an impact on student acceptance and participation rates, school food service operations, and the cost of the program.
The recommended Nutrient Targets and Meal Requirements for school meal programs call for numerous changes in the foods that are offered, and potentially in the selections made by the students. The sponsor asked the committee (see Appendix C ) to consider a recommendation that would allow for a gradual reduction of sodium levels in school meals to meet a new standard without adversely affecting student participation in school meals and to allow time for food products to be reformulated with lower sodium levels. Recommendation 5. USDA should work cooperatively with Health and Human Services, the food industry, professional organizations, state agencies, advocacy groups, and parents to develop strategies and incentives to reduce the sodium content of prepared foods and to increase the availability of whole grain-rich products while maintaining acceptable palatability, cost, and safety.
The emphasis would be on examining progress in meeting the standards, especially those related to fruits, vegetables, whole grain-rich foods, calories, saturated fat, and sodium; identifying training needs for school food service operators; and providing needed technical assistance to improve the school meals (see the previous section for the types of technical assistance likely to be needed). Other important forms of technical support include guidance on the effective incorporation of USDA foods based on the new standards for menu planning; guidance on the use of production records to improve menu planning and monitor performance; and additional training and technical resources on topics such as food composition, applying nutrition and food behavior research to facilitate change, modifying standardized recipes, developing healthy cooking techniques, interpreting food labels, and developing food specifications for procuring healthier products. One priority is collaboration with school food service directors to revise related menu planning guidance materials, including the Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs (USDA/FNS, 2009c) to make its content compatible with the recommended Meal Requirements.
(Serving sizes differ for these products.) Much effort is being placed on testing new products for acceptability by food service operators and students in the schools (C. McCullough, – ). 1 Because approximately 15 to 20 percent of the food served as part of the school lunch is donated USDA food (USDA/FNS, 2008a), these foods have an important influence on the quality and cost of school meals (see section USDA Foods ” in Chapter 8 ). The Commodity Program has made substantial improvements in its offerings in recent years to become better aligned with Dietary Guidelines for Americans and to be more responsive to its customers.”