USDA “Smart Snacks” Stepping Forward Late in June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services (USDA/FNS) published an interim final rule establishing nutrition standards for so-called “competitive” foods and beverages available in schools beyond the federal child nutrition programs. In compliance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the “Smart Snacks in Schools” interim final rule is expected to be implemented in SY 2014-15. According to a USDA/FNS press release, the rule reflects “USDA’s thoughtful consideration and response to the nearly 250,000 comments” the agency received on the proposal in April. [Editors’ Note: For details on SNA’s initial feedback, see the Washington Watch column, “Participate in the Process,” April 2013.] According to USDA, the provisions are designed to balance science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating. USDA/FNS has set a 120-day comment period for the interim rule. At press time, SNA’s public policy team was reviewing the details of the interim rule to assess the impact of the new regulation on school meal operations. “School meal programs are already in the midst of a sea change, as cafeterias work to meet new school breakfast and lunch standards and encourage students to try the healthier foods offered,” noted then-SNA President Sandra Ford, SNS, acknowledging that “complex regulations can present unique challenges and unintended consequences when put into practice.” Check SchoolNutrition.org for the latest updates on SNA’s response to the rule. To read the entire interim final rule, review analysis and digest a comprehensive summary of the comments to the proposed rule and check FAQs, visit http://tinyurl.com/smartsnacksinschool. STAY HYDRATED Bottled Water in, Soda Out Need some encouraging health trend news? A breakdown of the 180 gallons of fluids consumed yearly per person shows Americans are drinking more water and less soda than we did in the past. According to data from the Beverage Information Group and MarketWatch, nearly one-third of a typical American’s liquid intake was in the form of soft drinks back in the 1990s. Since 2001, however, we’ve cut intake of soda by 16%, while drinking 50% more bottled water. (No data were given on consumption of tap water, even when filtered.) Other reported beverage changes: Americans are drinking 30% less milk today than in 1975, and consumption of tea has increased. Coffee consumption remains steady. Given that our bodies are approximately 60% water, nearly every body part reaps the benefits of adequate water consumption. It’s also good for our blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. Adequate daily intake is defined at 3 liters (or 13 cups) for men and 2.2 liters (9 cups) of fluid for women, though not all of that must be plain water. If you feel like you’re falling short or you are experiencing signs of dehydration (including fatigue, moodiness and headaches), try the following tips to boost your water consumption: • Keep a tracking log of your water intake using a daily planner, digital spreadsheet or even smartphone app, jotting down each glass you consume. • If the taste of plain water is unappealing, experiment with different sources and potential additions. In some places, tap water’s taste can be influenced by the presence of different minerals. Consider a switch to filtered or bottled water. In other cases, try adding slices of cucumber or citrus fruits, sprigs of mint or slightly mashed berries, such as raspberries or strawberries. • Make a morning habit of drinking one to two glasses of water as soon as you wake up. • Drink a full glass of water before every snack or meal—as a bonus, it can help fill you up so you eat fewer calories! FOOD PROFILE Solving the Mystery of Jicama That brown, bulbous root vegetable you spied at the market isn’t an overgrown, misshapen potato—it’s most likely jicama, which actually is a member of the legume family. Indigenous to Mexico and Central and South America, jicama hasn’t been used too often in traditional U.S. cuisines—until now. One taste of its crispy, juicy flesh, and you might be tempted to revamp your menus at home or school to include it! Although jicama can be cooked, its texture and flavor really shine when consumed raw—it’s crunchy, juicy and slightly sweet. While its flavor is similar to an apple or pear, its texture is more like a radish, given that it’s nearly 90% water. On top of that mild, sweet flavor, you— and your students—will reap a variety of nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, iron and calcium. It’s low in sugar but high in dietary fiber. One-quarter cup of jicama can be credited as a starchy vegetable under meal pattern regulations. First things first, though—how do you actually get into the vegetable? Its outer skin is tough and difficult to peel. Using a sharp knife, cut a slice off the top and bottom to create a flat surface on both ends. Then, slice the knife down the sides, using it to cut away large swaths of rough skin. From there, you can add jicama raw to salads—vegetable- or fruit-based—or serve it as part of a raw vegetable tray, along with carrots and celery. Try combining matchstick pieces of a whole jicama with 4 cups of cubed watermelon and 1⁄3 cup torn mint leaves. Top it with a dressing made of 1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest, 1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest, 2 tablespoons honey and some salt and pepper to taste Want to try cooking jicama? Slice into cubes and toss them in a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with chili powder and cumin and then bake for 45 minutes at 375°F. It also can be used as a substitute for water chestnuts in a stir-fry dish. Oh, and if you were wondering? It’s pronounced HIK-ka-ma. NutrıNET Dynamo Digest www.blueberrycouncil.org/foodservice The Dynamo Digest section of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council’s website presents articles from chefs, dietitians and foodservice professionals. Topics include menu trends, recipe tips and more. A Spring 2013 article, written by Jason Morse, CEC, executive chef for Douglas County (Colo.) School District, addresses the changing face of school nutrition. Look for the Dynamo Digest link on the Foodservice page. MyPlate Resource Library http://tinyurl.com/myplateresources The U.S. Department of Agriculture presents a new collection of classroom materials that elementary school teachers can use to integrate nutrition education into different curriculum areas. Available components include teachers’ guides, posters, links to online nutrition games and a handout for parents that can be used at home to reinforce classroom lessons. Family Friendly Meals http://tinyurl.com/realsimplefamilyrecipes Real Simple magazine presents 50 kid-friendly recipes that might find favor among the picky eaters in your home. Suggestions include Sweet Corn Quesadillas and Peach and Raspberry Parfait. Parents also can review tips for cooking with kids. Consider adapting recipes to try in your cafeteria. Calendar13 Aug13 AUG. 11-15 Annual International Conference, Association of Correctional Food Service Affiliates Reno, Nev., (818) 843-6608 Sept13 SEPT. 15-17 27th Annual Conference, Child and Adult Care Food Program Sponsor’s Association Minneapolis, (800) 369-9082 SEPT. 15-19 2013 New Products Conference, Prepared Foods San Diego, (847) 405-4071 SEPT. 16-18 International Dairy Show, International Dairy Foods Association Minneapolis, (202) 737-4332 SEPT. 23-25 PACK EXPO, Packaging Manufacturers Machinery Institute Las Vegas, (703) 243-8555 SEPT. 30-OCT. 2 2013 Washington Public Policy Conference, United Fresh Produce Association Washington, D.C., (202) 303-3400 SEPT. 30-OCT. 2 National Conference, Society for Foodservice Management Bonita Springs, Fla., (502) 574-9931 Oct13 OCT. 3-5 Annual Conference, Council of Urban Boards of Education San Antonio, Texas, (703) 838-6722 OCT. 6-9 International Baking Industry Exposition 2013, Retail Bakers of America Las Vegas, (619) 298-1445 OCT. 7-9 Fall 2013 Conference, Commercial Food Equipment Service Association New Orleans, (336) 346-4700 OCT. 9-12 87th Annual ASHA School Health Conference, American School Health Association Myrtle Beach, S.C., (301) 652-8072 OCT. 19-22 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Houston, Texas, (800) 877-1600 ENTER TO WIN Finding FAME Surely you know an exceptional school nutrition leader who truly deserves to be recognized for his or her achievement, innovation and service. The Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards program, which is sponsored by Basic American Foods, Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., and Tyson Foods, Inc., seeks nominations for its annual competition, now in its 25th year. Award categories include Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year, Silver Leadership, Silver Spirit, Silver Rising Star and Silver Friend of Child Nutrition. The awards ceremony will take place at SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference in Miami, Fla., in January 2014. Nominations are due October 9, 2013. For more information and nomination materials, visit www.fameawards.net. Be sure to “like” the FAME Awards Facebook page for updates. Recipe Roundup The Kids Recipe Challenge, organized by the National Restaurant Association and McCormick For Chefs, used an “industry-tested, kid-approved” approach to determine its winners, with a panel of industry professionals, including SNA Past President Sandra Ford, SNS, director of food and nutrition services for Manatee County School District, Bradenton, Fla., and SNA CEO Patricia Montague, CAE, selecting the finalists and student judges choosing the winners. The winners were: Qdoba Mexican Grill’s Lil’ Pulled Pork Naked Burrito®, Boston Lobster Feast’s Chicken Parmesan With Spaghetti Squash, Chartwells School Dining Services’ Chix-N-Cheddar Snappy Jalapeño Wrap and Tim Horton Children’s Foundation’s Yum! Yum! Chip Chicken. Equipped for Excellence The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) congratulates Warrior Run School District, Turbotville, Pa., the recipient of the 2013 SNF/Winston Equipment Award. The grant from Winston Industries will provide 10 new pieces of equipment to the district that will improve the school nutrition program’s quality, nutritional value, customer service, employee morale, time management and menu creativity. To learn more about SNF scholarships and grants and to apply for the Winston Equipment Award when the application period opens, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/scholarships. Cooking for Kids Careema Bell of Pittsburgh, Pa., was named the grand-prize winner in the “Creative Cooking for Kids” contest sponsored by Just A Pinch Recipe Club. Her Strawberry Panzanella Salad earned her a trip to Nashville and a $1,000 cooking shopping spree. For all of the winning recipes, visit www.justapinch.com/contest/creative-cooking-for-kids. Begin With Ben’s Uncle Ben’s® invites kids in grades K-8—and their parents—to submit a rice-based dish that they have prepared together to the company’s 2013 Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest. One grand-prize winner will receive a $30,000 makeover for his or her school cafeteria, $15,000 for the family and an appearance on “The Rachael Ray Show.” Two runners-up each will receive $10,000 for a cafeteria makeover and $5,000 for the family, while three schools with the highest contest participation in their enrollment categories each will receive $30,000 for cafeteria makeovers. The deadline to enter is October 6, 2013. To enter or for more information, visit www.bensbeginners.com. First in Fresh Congratulations to Kevin LaPittus, director of child nutrition services for Encinitas (Calif.) Union School District, who was named the winner in the K-12 School Foodservice category in the 2013 United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. The program “honors chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts.” Criteria include the incorporation of fresh produce into menu development, use of protocols for correct storage and handling of produce and leadership in produce-related community service. DateBOOK August Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month Family Meals Month Get Ready for Kindergarten Month National Immunization Awareness Month National Panini Month National Peach Month National Farmers’ Market Week (Aug. 4-10) National Aviation Week (Aug. 15-21) National Safe at Home Week (Aug. 26-30) National Watermelon Day (Aug. 3) International Youth Day (Aug. 12) International Left Handers Day (Aug. 13) September National Chicken Month National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month National Food Safety Education Month National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) National Potato Month National Rice Month Child Injury Prevention Week (Sept. 1-7) National Waffle Week (Sept. 1-7) Labor Day (Sept. 2) Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 4) National Grandparents Day (Sept. 8) National Celiac Awareness Day (Sept. 13) Yom Kippur (Sept. 14) First Day of Autumn (Sept. 22) National Punctuation Day (Sept. 24) National Women’s Health & Fitness Day (Sept. 25) World School Milk Day (Sept. 25) October National Chili Month National Farm to School Month National Pork Month Pizza Month World Rainforest Week (Oct. 7-13) Teen Read Week (Oct. 13-19) National School Lunch Week (Oct. 14-18) Columbus Day (Observed) (Oct. 14)
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