SCHOOL BREAKFAST Modest Gains Seen in Low-Income Breakfast Numbers The School Breakfast Program continues to provide a critical safety net for our nation’s poorest children, as the Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) annual School Breakfast Scorecard reports that more than 10.8 million students received a free or reduced-price breakfast on an average school day during SY 2012-13. This total indicates an increase of more than 300,000 low-income children from the previous year. Each year, FRAC compares the number of low-income students who eat school breakfast to the number who receive school lunch to determine the success of the program’s availability and reach in feeding hungry children. For SY 2012-13, this ratio increased to 51.9 low-income students eating school break-fast for every 100 eating school lunch—another modest marker of success, as the ratio in 2011-12 was 50.4 out of 100. In states with the best outreach, New Mexico and Washington, D.C., the number climbed to a ratio of 70, closely followed by West Virginia at 67. On the low end, in states failing to take full advantage of this valuable hunger-relief nutrition program, just 34 low-income students ate breakfast of every 100 eating school lunch in Utah; New Hampshire fed only 37 of the 100 eating lunch. FRAC estimates that if this ratio could reach 70 to 100 nationwide, an additional 3.8 million children would benefit from school breakfast! FRAC attributes current achievements to an increase in school districts using proven strategies to boost participation. These include universal free breakfast programs and breakfast-in-the-classroom service. Plus, the pilot implementation in seven states of the Community Eligibility Option (CEO), a federal provision that allows high-poverty schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students without requiring individual applications also played a significant role, according to FRAC. In the pilot states, average breakfast participation in these states increased by 5%, compared to just 2.5% in all other states. With CEO now expanded to all states, greater gains may be realized in the coming year. To read School Breakfast Scorecard and another related FRAC report, School Breakfast: Making It Work in Large School Districts, visit http://tinyurl.com/fracbreakfastreports. To help make the case for school breakfast expansion with administrators in your district, see “A Wellness Wake-up Call,” in School Nutrition’s November 2013 issue. For ideas to boost promotion, be sure to check out the preview for National School Breakfast Week 2015 on page 48. MARKETING IN SCHOOLS No More Soft Drink Scoreboards On the fourth anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s successful Let’s Move! campaign, she teamed up with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to jointly announce proposed standards for local school wellness policies, as mandated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The new requirements build upon the rule established in 2004 directing local educational agencies to have a wellness policy in place for each school. In addition to the 2004 requirements regarding guidelines for all foods available on campus and goals for nutrition education, physical activity and other school-based activities, the new standards include goals for nutrition promotion and requirements regarding periodic assessment and public transparency regarding compliance. Specifically announced in late February are proposed rules designed to ensure that foods and beverages marketed to students are consistent with the government’s Smart Snacks in School standards, scheduled to go into effect in July 2014. Effectively, the new rule asks schools to reinforce the importance of healthy choices and eliminate any marketing of unhealthy products. “The idea here is simple,” said the First Lady. “Our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren’t bombarded with ads for junk food.” The proposal would affect such advertising that appears throughout a school on scoreboards, vending machines, posters and more. “The food marketing and local wellness standards proposed today support better health for our kids and echo the good work already taking place at home and in schools across the country,” said Vilsack. “The new standards ensure that schools remain a safe place where kids can learn and where the school environment promotes healthy choices.” The announcement “is another positive step toward fostering healthy school environments and ensuring our schools are sending consistent messages to students about nutritious choices,” said SNA President Leah Schmidt, SNS. “Supporting nutrition education and physical fitness while limiting marketing of unhealthy foods will help reinforce positive messages in and out of the cafeteria.” To aid schools in implementing local wellness policies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a new website, found by navigating to http://tinyurl.com/usdawellnessresources. Available resources include steps to put a school wellness policy into action; research and evaluation tools related to wellness policies; samples of ideas to boost wellness efforts; and information on grants specific to child nutrition and physical activity. FOOD TRENDS Cheddar: America’s Favorite Cheese Although Cheddar cheese originally hails from Great Britain—it’s named after a village in southwest England—it’s now the No. 1 cheese on American restaurant menus, according to Food Genius, Inc., a Chicago research and consulting company. Italian Parmesan cheese trails Cheddar as the No. 2 pick, appearing on 57% of all restaurant menus, while Cheddar appears on 63%. Mozzarella, Swiss and Provolone cheeses round out the top five picks. Today, Cheddar is made all over the United States, but only cheese made from local milk within Southwest England’s four counties can be labeled as “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar”—good to know next time you’re planning a cheese plate for a party! The region is known for its Cheddar because of Cheddar Gorge, a series of caves that offer the ideal humidity and temperature for maturing the cheese. Here in America, Wisconsin produces the majority of the country’s Cheddar in several varieties, including mild, medium, sharp, extra sharp, New York, white and Vermont. If you want to incorporate more Cheddar —or any other type of cheese— into your menu, pay a visit to the National Dairy Council’s website at www.nationaldairycouncil.org. There, you’ll find recipes for Cheddar and Mushroom Breakfast Squares, Cheddar Fondue and Cheesy Cauliflower, among others. JUST FOR FUN Play Ball and Eat...??? Spring training is over, and this month, pro baseball teams take to fields across the country for another season of one of America’s favorite pastimes. It takes just two lines of the iconic baseball song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” for food to come into play (“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, I don’t care if we ever go back”)! A look at the numbers supports the claim: According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, 63% of baseball fans name the hot dog as the No. 1 ballpark food that they can’t live without, with peanuts ranking second at a distant 18%. Cracker Jacks come in fifth, after pizza and cotton candy—but the coated popcorn and nut snack is sold at every Major League park. Of course, as our attention to health has evolved, so has ballpark food—and none too soon! Do you have any guesses as to exactly how many calories you might take in at a game if focused on traditional fare? At around 250 to 300 calories, hot dogs are actually not terrible, though that doesn’t count the bun and condiments. Worse are pizza and hamburgers, both around 500 calories a serving; peanuts, at 1,200 calories per 12-oz. bag; and nachos at a whopping 1,500 calories per 12-oz. portion. (We won’t even factor in the beer and ice cream offerings.) For fans who want more of a nutrition balance, many Major League parks have ramped up their game by introducing healthful fare. For example, at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz., home of the Diamond-backs, you can enjoy a black bean burger with barbecue sauce on a whole-wheat bun for around 300 calories. At the Phillies’ Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia, try a veggie version of the hometown favorite cheesesteak for around 380 calories, including the cheese. Other examples include grilled vegetable wraps, custom salad bowls, fresh fruit, hummus, veggie kabobs and even sushi! In fact, you can find a healthy, flavorful meal at nearly every ball field, as long as you’re willing to do a lap around the stadium concourse. A different aspect of health also is getting a new view by the Major League. Peanuts might be one of the most popular baseball snacks, but the rate of peanut allergies tripled in children between 1997 and 2008, says Food Allergy Research & Education. In response, some Major and Minor League ballparks now offer special peanut-free sections or even peanut-free games! Despite such 21st century updates, some baseball fans insist that a game isn’t a game without sticking to the time-honored and true. So, if you want to indulge every once in a while in a century-old tradition of hot dogs and Cracker Jacks, go ahead—we won’t tell. NUTRITION The Verdict on Vitamins You already know that getting a daily dose of recommended vitamins and minerals reduces your risk of chronic disease and boosts your overall health—in fact, you’ve practically been beaten over the head with that message! That’s why you take a multivitamin daily, right? Not so fast. On the heels of two studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a recent statement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses on the importance of getting the majority of your nutrients from actual food, instead of vitamin and mineral supplements. The studies show that, for most healthy people, there’s no clear benefit to consuming vitamin supplements—and, in fact, they might prove harmful. “We believe that the case is closed—supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful,” researchers wrote in an accompanying editorial in Annals, published in December 2013. “These findings support the evidence-based position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that the best nutrition-based strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to wisely choose a wide variety of foods,” said Academy spokesperson Heather Mangieri, RD, in a press release. “By choosing nutrient-rich foods that provide the most nutrients per calorie, you can build a healthier life and start down a path of health and wellness.” This is despite recent increases in dietary supplement sales, which totaled a whopping $30 billion in 2011, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institute of Health. Of that amount, $5.2 billion came solely from multivitamin/mineral sales. Of course, in certain cases—such as pregnancy, illness or vegetarian diets—a supplement might be necessary to meet nutrition deficiencies. To determine the right course of action for you, speak to your health care provider. To read the editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine, visit http://tinyurl.com/AnnalsEditorial. For more information about the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, visit www.eatright.org. NutrıNET Project Bread Cookbook http://tinyurl.com/projectbreadcookbook Looking for some new menu ideas that meet meal pattern regulations and will find favor with student customers? The 100 recipes featured in the Let’s Cook Healthy School Meals cookbook, produced by Massachusetts anti-hunger organization Project Bread, might be just the resource you need. The recipes were developed by school nutrition professionals and have earned kid-tested approval in school cafeteria settings. Food52 http://food52.com Food52 celebrates the art of cooking and aims to provide those who love to cook with a one-stop community resource. Visitors can contribute recipes, enter contests and write or read columns on topics such as Breakfast of Champions, Food History 101 and Sunday Dinners. They also can use the real-time Hotline tool to share culinary questions and solutions. Check out “The Piglet,” a virtual “tournament” of the year’s top cookbooks. Farm to School Census www.fns.usda.gov/farmto school/census A government survey of some 13,000 public school districts gathered data about the prevalence of farm-to-school activities. Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states showed the greatest commitment, with more than 75% of school districts participating in such activities. Nationally, some 54% of districts reported current activity or future plans. Calendar14 Apr14 APR. 10-12 Conference and Trade Show, International Food Service Executives Association Orlando, (800) 893-5499 APR. 15-18 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, National Farm to School Network Austin, Texas, (512) 568-1815 APR. 26-29 Annual Conference, American Commodity Distribution Association Austin, Texas, (217) 241-6747 APR. 28-MAY 2 Annual Conference, National Head Start Association Long Beach, Calif., (866) 677-8724 May14 MAY 6-8 Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids National Invitational Leadership Summit, Culinary Institute of America San Antonio, (800) 888-7850 MAY 17-20 Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, National Restaurant Association Chicago, (312) 853-5765 June14 JUNE 1-3 Dairy-Deli-Bake 2014, International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association™ Denver, (608) 310-5000 JUNE 9-11 Annual Leadership Summit, Menus of Change®, Presented by Culinary Institute of America and Harvard School of Public Health Department of Nutrition Cambridge, Mass., (707) 967-2416 JUNE 10-13 Annual Conference, United Fresh Produce Association Chicago, (202) 303-3400 JUNE 19-21 10th Annual Leadership Conference, Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ) Salt Lake City, Utah, (410) 268-5542 JUNE 25-28 105th Annual Conference and Expo, American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences St. Louis, Mo., (703) 406-4600 DateBOOK April National Yogurt Month School Library Month Soy Foods Month Stress Awareness Month National Public Health Week® (Apr. 7-13) Administrative Professionals Week (Apr. 20-26) National Playground Safety Week (Apr. 21-25) Passover Begins (Apr. 14) Easter (Apr. 20) Earth Day (Apr. 22) Arbor Day (Apr. 25) Penguin Day (Apr. 25) May Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Beef Month Celiac Disease Awareness Month Jewish-American Heritage Month National Bike Month National Inventors Month National Mental Health Month National Salad Month School Nutrition Employee Week (May 5-9) Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 11-17) National Women’s Health Week (May 11-17) School Lunch Hero Day (May 2) Cinco de Mayo (May 5) Mother’s Day (May 11) Limerick Day (May 12) Memorial Day (May 26) Sally Ride Day (May 26) Learn About Composting Day (May 29) June National Caribbean-American Heritage Month National Dairy Month National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month Turkey Lovers Month National Sun Safety Week (June 1-7) Flag Day (June 14) Father’s Day (June 15) Enter to WIN Advocate’s Accomplishment Congratulations to Janet Dunmyer, foodservice operations manager for Zionsville (Ind.) Community Schools, who has been selected as the School Nutrition Foundation’s (SNF) 2014 Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow. She has been an active member of SNA and the Indiana School Nutrition Association (ISNA) for the last decade, is a past member of the ISNA Public Policy & Legislation Committee and a current member of the ISNA Executive Board. The award, established in honor of school nutrition pioneer and advocate and SNA Past President Dr. Josephine Martin, enables an SNA member to attend the national Legislative Action Conference for the first time. To learn more about this and other SNA/SNF educational assistance programs, visit www.schoolnutri tion.org/scholarships. Mad About Mangos Do you have a recipe that shows off the versatility of fresh mango? Submit it to the National Mango Board’s “Mangover Your Menu” recipe contest, and you could win a $1,500 grand prize or one of two $750 first prizes. Entries can be submitted in three categories: appetizer, salad and entrée. They will be evaluated on use of fresh mango, flavor, color and texture and originality. The deadline to enter is April 30, 2014. To enter or for more information, visit www.mango.org/foodservice/recipe-contest. Festival of Flavor T he 2014 Great Gilroy Garlic Festival Recipe Contest and Cookoff seeks your most impressive garlic-infused dish. Recipes submitted must contain at least six cloves of fresh garlic or 3 tsps. packaged (minced or chopped) garlic. One grand-prize winner will receive $5,000; second prize is $2,500, third prize is $1,000 and eight fourth-prize winners will be awarded $100 each. All of these finalists will attend the annual cookoff held in late July in Gilroy, Calif. The deadline for entries is May 1, 2014. To submit your entry or for more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/garliccontest. What’s Cookin’? Enter your favorite go-to recipe in Mrs. Blum’s Recipe Contest, sponsored by Blum’s Almanacs, and you could be a winner. One first-prize winner will receive $200, second prize $100 and third prize $50. All winners also will receive a cookbook. Entries are due May 1, 2014. Visit http://tinyurl.com/mrsblums recipecontest to learn how to submit your entry. Active Kids, Healthy Kids Action for Healthy Kids announces its School Grants for Healthy Kids program for SY 2014-15. Some 1,000 schools will be awarded funds ranging from $500 to $5,000 to support the development of school breakfast and physical activity programs. Grant recipients also will receive expert advice and assistance toward the implementation of a successful project that leads to sustainable change. Note: Districts interested in submitting applications for multiple schools must complete individual applications for each site. The application deadline is May 2, 2014. To apply or for more details, visit www.actionforhealthykids.org/resources/school-grants. Talking Taters Try your hand at creating a healthier potato side dish, appetizer, salad or entrée and submit it along with “a description of why the dish is better for you and what potatoes bring to the party,” and you could win an all-expenses-paid trip to the “Menu Innovations With Potatoes” seminar at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, Calif. One runner-up will receive $500. Recipes will be judged on taste, creativity, presentation and dish description. The deadline to enter is May 31, 2014. For more details and the entry form, visit www.potatogoodness.com/hot-potato.
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