BACK TO SCHOOL A Public Education Primer Although School Nutrition readers work in a wide variety of settings (including state education departments, food manufacturers, central production facilities and more), the vast majority head to work at a public school each day. While public education seems like a mainstay in American society, have you ever given thought to how this concept was created in the United States? This month is a fitting time to learn, because August is the start of back-to-school season in many parts of the country. Public education in America actually dates back to before there officially was an America. In 1635, the Boston Latin School opened—and it still exists today (though not in its original building), frequently ranked as one of the top high schools in the United States. It wasn’t until 1647 that the Massachusetts Bay Colony made public schools mandatory—every town of 50 families was required to establish an elementary school; every community of 100 families also was required to create a “Latin school.” Of course, the education goals were a little different back then, as the purpose of such schooling was to ensure that Puritan children—specifically, boys—read the Bible and learned more about their religion. The first continually operating school for girls didn’t appear for nearly another century, until Ursuline Academy opened in New Orleans, La., in 1727. Though it’s now a private school, it was not only the first free school for women, but it also offered the first educational opportunities for female African- Americans and American-Indians. Public education has changed drastically since the 1700s, and much of that can be attributed to Horace Mann, the secretary of education in—where else?— Massachusetts, who in the mid-1800s introduced age group-based grades for curriculum and worked to prepare teachers in a “common school” model. This set schools on the path to where they are today, with most eventually offering the National School Lunch Program, which was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946. Of course, that’s where SNA and you, its members, fit in. School meals might only have been an official part of public education for some 70 years, but they still play an important educational role today and tomorrow. YOUR HEALTH I Spy Good Eye Health You think your eyesight is just fine—until you’re driving down the road, squinting your eyes, searching for the right street name printed on those seemingly tiny road signs. Or maybe your wake-up call comes when you’re trying to see the oven timer, and you can’t quite tell how many minutes before the pie will start to burn. When was your last eye exam? More than 150 million Americans wear some form of corrective eyewear, such as glasses or contact lenses, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Even if you have worn glasses for years, it’s important to realize that your prescription can change, meaning the lenses you use now might not be suitable anymore. Because of this, current health recommendations suggest getting an eye exam every two years until age 60 and annually thereafter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that some 11 million people over age 12 could see better if they invested in a pair of corrective lenses or appropriate eye surgery. August happens to be National Eye Exam Month, the perfect time to schedule that long-overdue appointment! Of course, people put off eye exams for the same reason we postpone other obligations—lack of time, lack of funds or simply a lack of desire to have a doctor shoot those puffs of air into your peepers. Speaking of, that puff tests for glaucoma, optic nerve damage that affects more than 2.3 million people over age 40. There is a diagnostic alternative, if that’s what is stopping you from visiting an optometrist or ophthalmologist; simply talk to the doctor about options. Other eye exam standards test how well your eyes work together, eye muscle movement and pupillary reactions. A check of visual acuity—during which you read letters that get smaller in each row— is the one with the most practical applications, but the others are essential to ensure the long-term health of your eyes. Beyond a regular eye exam, there are other steps you can take to protect your vision. Include plenty of dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale in your diet, as well as omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and tuna, both of which protect your eyes. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block both ultraviolet A and B rays, and put on protective eyewear when playing sports or doing hazardous work. For more eye health tips, visit the National Eye Institute at http://tinyurl.com/healthyvisiontips. FOOD PROFILE Solving the Salt Puzzle In considering one of the most basic ingredients used in the kitchen, a person might be forgiven for thinking that all salt is the same. After all, it’s simply a combination of the elements sodium and chloride, offering up that distinct taste that’s both hailed as the cure-all for a bland meal and the downfall of those with high blood pressure. Right? But salt isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition— there actually are a number of varieties on the market (just check out the spice aisle!), leaving the consumer confused as to what type is best to buy and use regularly. Once again, School Nutrition is here to demystify what should be a simple staple in your pantry. The Catch-All: Kosher Salt Forget iodized table salt—the salt shaker on your counter should contain kosher salt, which is widely sold under the names Morton and Diamond Crystal, among others. Kosher salt dissolves easily and evenly, but look for one without anti-caking agents, as these can leave an aftertaste. Note: Kosher salt isn’t actually kosher; it’s just named as such, because butchers use it during the kosher butchering process. The Flavor Booster: Crystalline or Flaked Sea Salt When you really want to taste the salt as a true ingredient, rather than just a seasoning, add sea salt to a food that’s finished cooking. One variety is crystalline; its crystals are irregular, so they don’t dissolve evenly. Flaked sea salts dissolves instantly and adds just a hint of briny flavor to your food. The former is best for more complex flavors, such as red meat, while the latter works well on delicate flavors like seafood. The Special Occasion Salt: Fleur de Sel As you might guess by its name, this salt comes from France. The conditions have to be just right for it to “bloom” in the coastal salt ponds, and then it’s hand-harvested. What does all of this mean? It’s expensive. However, “the caviar of salt” might just be worth a taste—add a sprinkle to a fresh summer tomato or softly cooked scrambled eggs. A similar, yet coarser salt, is selgris, or Celtic Sea Salt. Other unique salts: Rock salt, used for making ice cream; pickling salt, used for brining vegetables and making sauerkraut; seasoned salt, which has non-salty flavors such as truffles or lemon infused into it for extra flavor. The type of salt you use in your cooking will depend on your goals; however, one thing’s for sure—you’ll never consider salt as a “regular ol’ seasoning” again. WELLNESS INCENTIVES Reporting Healthy Behaviors A study by Cornell University behavioral economists, Nutrition Report Cards: An Opportunity to Improve School Lunch Selection, found that nutrition report cards are a feasible and efficient way to motivate children to make healthier meal choices at school. The pilot analysis was conducted in a rural New York school district with the objective “to investigate whether providing information to parents about the components of their child’s [chosen] school lunch holds any promise of improving what students select for their lunch.” Over a five-week period, 27 participating parents were provided with a Nutritional Report Card (NRC), which detailed whether their child had taken a reimbursable meal; if the components selected included fruits/vegetables, starchy sides, white milk, flavored milk; and any a la carte items purchased. The report did not provide a grade or commentary; it only recorded and totaled student choices. Among the results of the pilot was a notable decrease in the number of participating students continuing to purchase a la carte cookies after their parents had received the NRC. In addition, parents reported that the NRC prompted more in-home discussions about food and nutrition. The study concluded, “Although the results are preliminary, they suggest that NRCs may be helpful in nudging children toward more healthy, less expensive options and away from less healthy, more expensive ones… at little cost to the school district.” To read the complete findings of the Cornell University study, visit http://tinyurl.com/cornelluniversitystudy. NUTRITION Choices for a Healthier Diet It’s not just kids’ diets that have long needed a healthy overhaul— the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the obesity rate for American adults is hovering near 35%, indicating that grown-ups clearly need to get a handle on their eating patterns, too. However, there’s some good news from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Center, which recently published a report that reviewed the diet quality of working-age adults monitored from 2005 to 2010. It found that the strides made in promoting nutrition information and education are having a positive effect, as American adults are consuming fewer calories from fat and saturated fat, eating less cholesterol and boosting their fiber intake. They also are using available nutrition information, such as the Nutrition Facts Panel found on product packaging and restaurant nutrition information, with greater frequency. The improvement in diet quality is attributed partially to the fact that families seem to be eating out at restaurants or fastfood establishments less frequently, likely as a consequence of the economic struggles of the period. From 2007 to 2009, spending on food away from the home decreased by 12.9%, translating into three fewer meals and 1.5 fewer snacks eaten away from home per person per month. From 2005 to 2010, overall daily caloric intake in adults decreased by 78 calories, while researchers also saw a decline in calories from total fat by 3.3%, in saturated fat by 5.9% and intake of cholesterol by 7.9%. Overall fiber intake increased by 1.2 grams a day, or 7.5%. To read more about the improvements in diet or the study overall, access the report at http://tinyurl.com/ImprovedDiets. For advice and tips on how to improve your diet, visit www.nutrition.gov. NutrıNET InHarvest Food Service Videos www.youtube.com/user/inharvestfoodservice Interested in learning more about whole grains and creating new menu items that feature them? InHarvest’s new professional development video channel boasts a variety of videos on whole grains featuring members of the company’s culinary team. Videos range in length from 90 seconds to 10 minutes and include “Whole-Grain Tips and Tricks,” “Rice Bowl Concepts” and “Bring Whole Grains to K-12.” Healthy Eating on a Budget www.choosemyplate.gov/budget Many consumers want to learn how to make better eating decisions with limited resources. So the federal Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion has compiled free, easy-to- use resources related to planning meals, shopping smart in the grocery store and preparing meals that save money—and time in the kitchen. Available content includes sample two-week menus, grocery lists and pantry staple lists, as well as recipes. Sara Lee Foodservice www.saraleefoodservice.com/k-12 This updated website features information about Sara Lee’s line of K-12 products, along with recipe suggestions for such menu items as Chicken, Beans and Greens Pasta, Honey Ham Melt and Turkey Sausage Breakfast Slider. Recipes also are available to download in a PDF booklet. Be sure to look for suggested recipes featuring items available through the USDA Foods Processing Program. Calendar14 Aug14 AUG. 9-12 Annual Meeting & Exposition, American Society of Association Executives Nashville, (888) 950-2723 AUG. 10-14 Annual Conference, Association of Correctional Food Service Affiliates St. Louis, Mo., (818) 843-6608 Sept14 SEPT. 8-10 2014 Washington Public Policy Conference, United Fresh Produce Association Washington, D.C., (202) 303-3400 SEPT. 19-22 Annual Meeting & Expo, Association of School Business Officials International Kissimmee, Fla., (866) 682-2729 SEPT. 22-24 Fall 2014 Conference, Commercial Food Equipment Service Association Key Largo, Fla., (336) 346-4700 Oct14 OCT. 1-3 Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Leadership Symposium, Culinary Institute of America San Antonio, (845) 452-9600 OCT. 9-11 88th Annual ASHA School Health Conference, American School Health Association Portland, Ore., (703) 506-7675 OCT. 11-14 NFRA Convention, National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, Inc. Orlando, Fla., (717) 657-8601 OCT. 17-19 Annual Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition, Produce Marketing Association Anaheim, Calif., (302) 738-7100 OCT. 18-21 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Atlanta, (800) 877-1600 OCT. 21-23 2014 Distribution Solutions Conference, International Foodservice Distributors Association Indianapolis, (703) 532-9400 OCT. 22-24 Annual Fall Conference, Council of the Great City Schools Milwaukee, Wis., (202) 393-2427 DateBOOK August Family Meals Month Get Ready for Kindergarten Month National Eye Exam Month National Immunization Awareness Month National Peach Month Exercise With Your Child Week (Aug. 3-9) National Farmers Market Week (Aug. 3-9) National Safe at Home Week (Aug. 24-30) National Watermelon Day (Aug. 3) International Youth Day (Aug. 12) International Left-Handers Day (Aug. 13) Women’s Equality Day (Aug. 26) September Children’s Good Manners Month College Savings Month 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 Whole Grains Month Child Injury Prevention Week (Sept. 1-7) National Clean Hands Week (Sept. 21-28) Labor Day (Sept. 1) National Stepfamily Day (Sept. 16) First Day of Autumn (Sept. 23) Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 24) World School Milk Day (Sept. 24) Johnny Appleseed Day (Sept. 26) October National Farm to School Month National Pork Month Pizza Month National School Lunch Week (Oct. 13-17) National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 20-24) Yom Kippur (Oct. 3) Columbus Day (Oct. 13) World Pasta Day (Oct. 25) Enter to WIN Hail to the Chef Congratulations to Jason Morse, CEC, executive chef for Douglas County School District, Castle Rock, Colo., who was named the winner in the K-12 School Foodservice category in the 2014 United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. The program honors 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 producerelated community service. Crantastic Congratulations In recognition of the recent addition of dried cranberries to the USDA Foods Available List, Cranberry Marketing Committee USA and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s School Nutrition Team announce the winners of their school nutrition recipe contest. Ingrid Rockwell (above) of Deerfield (Wis.) Elementary School was named the grand-prize winner for her Cranzy Chicken Taco and received $1,000 for her school to purchase new kitchen supplies and $1,000 for herself. Two runners-up each received $500 to use toward kitchen supplies for their schools and $500 for themselves: Diane Swiontek of Clayton (Wis.) School District for her Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa and Pamela Zuberbier of St. Peter’s Lutheran School, Fond du Lac, Wis., for her Razzy Cran- Grape Jell-O. ANC Award Already looking forward to attending SNA’s 2015 Annual National Conference (ANC) in Salt Lake City, Utah? Submit recipes (up to four) to the Foothill Farms “K-12 Recipe Challenge,” and you will earn a $100 airline gift card (good toward flights on select airlines) to use toward next year’s ANC travel costs. Prizes will be awarded upon receipt and verification of the recipe. Recipes must be original and include the title, quantities and ingredients (one of which must be a Foothill Farms product); complete preparation and cooking directions; and complete nutritional and meal pattern information. The deadline to enter is September 30, 2014. For more details or to enter, visit http://tinyurl.com/FoothillFarmsRecipeChallenge. Super Sandwich Is your favorite sandwich recipe worth $25,000? Find out by entering Mezzetta’s “Make That Sandwich™ 2014 Contest.” Each recipe must use a minimum of two Mezzetta products. Each recipe will be evaluated on originality, use of the company’s products, ease in preparation and taste. One grand-prize winner will receive $25,000, and two runners-up each will be awarded $1,000. Entries must be submitted by September 1, 2014. To learn more or to enter, visit www.makethatsandwich.com. Properly Equipped Following a PEW Charitable Trusts report that only 12% of schools in the United States have the proper equipment to meet updated nutrition standards for school meals, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the availability of $25 million in grants to buy foodservice equipment. The grants will be distributed to state agencies, which will award money to districts, giving priority to schools where at least half the students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Schools interested in applying for the grants should contact their state agency for further information. Names for FAME The Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards program, sponsored by Basic American Foods, Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., and Tyson Foods, Inc., seeks nominations for its 26th annual competition. Submit your names for Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year and four other categories. The awards will be presented in conjunction with SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., in January 2015. Nominations are due October 8, 2014. For more details, visit www.fameawards.net and “like” the FAME Awards Facebook page for updates.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/News+Bites/1771918/219200/article.html.