Childhood Hunger on the DECLINE ACCORDING TO A NEW REPORT FROM USDA’S ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICE, fewer households in 2015 experienced food insecurity—in fact, the number was at its lowest level since before the Great Recession began in 2007. Approximately 15.8 million U.S. households (12.7%) experienced food insecurity last year, compared to 14% in 2014. Families that experienced “very low food security,” or actual hunger, decreased from 6.9 million households in 2014 to 6.3 million in 2015. The report still notes that children went hungry in about 274,000 households last year; however, that’s a significant and encouraging decline from the 422,000 households with hungry children in 2014. The reasons for the declines vary. The economy has improved, yes, but families are also taking advantage of federal food assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and, of course, free and reduced-price school meals. Read more: http://tinyurl.com/childhunger-SN 1.3 The average number of pounds gained by an American adult between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Source: National Public Radio, September 2016 BOOST YOUR GEOGRAPHY AWARENESS How much do you know about the world around you? In honor of Geography Awareness Week (November 13-19, 2016), here are five little-known facts about our home, planet Earth: • In the past 50 years, cartographers have had to change Australia’s position on a map four times, including this year. The country is on one of the world’s fastest-moving tectonic plates and travels north approximately 2.7 inches a year (in comparison, the United States moves an estimated 1 inch per year). The difference means that longitudes and latitudes don’t line up with GPS coordinates. • Alaska is not only the Northernmost and Westernmost state in the United States, it’s also the Easternmost state. How is that possible? The small, uninhabited Semisopochnoi Island lies to the East of the meridian that separates the Western Hemisphere from the Eastern Hemisphere—and yet is just 65 miles from the country’s Westernmost point. • Climbing Mount Everest and need to make a call? You can, thanks to a Nepali telecom company that installed 3G service at the mountain’s base camp in 2010. In fact, the service was upgraded to 4G in 2013, meaning summiters can live stream the view to loved ones back home. • Twice a year (in late May and mid-July), the sunset aligns perfectly with the grid that New York City was built on—meaning, the sun sets perfectly between the skyscrapers on each side of the street, creating a glow on the buildings. It’s named “Manhattanhenge” because the same effect occurs at Stonehenge in England. • Do you have pictures that document you standing proudly in four states at once—at the Four Corners National Monument? We hate to break it to you—you were only standing in one state. Because of the rudimentary 19th-century surveying technology that marked the Monument, the actual Four Corners boundary is nearly 2,000 feet west of the Monument marker. FDA ASKS YOU: WHAT IS HEALTHY? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants your input when it comes to determining the definition of a “healthy” food, as it appears on package labels. In its effort to clarify the meaning of this word, FDA expects to provide consumers with information and tools to help them make more nutritious food choices. Right now, use of many food marketing descriptors (such as “healthy”) that appear on packaging is not regulated—meaning, a company could tout a product as healthy, without any basis in verifiable fact. Such claims could inappropriately influence consumer purchases. “Most purchase decisions are made quickly, within three to five seconds,” said Douglas Balentine, director of the FDA’s Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, in an agency news release. “That’s why we’re looking at how we define the claim ‘healthy.’ Companies can use this and other claims on the front of packages of foods that meet certain criteria to help consumers quickly identify nutritious choices.” FDA is soliciting comments from the general public. To submit your comments, go to www.regulations.gov and search for docket ID FDA-2016-D-2335. Industry is also asked to offer comments on related guidance for foods with a certain fat profile. 3 Ways to … Get Your Veggies 1) ADD AN ORANGE. Add an orange vegetable to your favorite macaroni-and-cheese recipe. Butternut squash, pumpkin or sweet potato purée can be mixed into a cheese sauce with only a slight change to the taste—while providing a big boost of vitamins and minerals. 2) SHRED. Shred zucchini or carrots into muffins and other baked goods. Morning Glory Muffins, for example, are traditionally made with shredded carrots, apples, raisins and walnuts. 3) PREP IN ADVANCE. Prep vegetables in advance. It’s a lot easier to grab celery, carrots or tomatoes when you’ve cleaned, cut and stored them in grab ‘n’ go containers—at least, isn’t that what you tell your students? PROMO PLANNER DECEMBER National Pear Month Universal Human Rights Month Worldwide Food Service Safety Month Cookie Exchange Week (Dec. 5-9) Hanukkah (Dec. 24-Jan. 1) Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) National Wreaths Across America Day (Dec. 17) Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) Christmas (Dec. 25) JANUARY National Soup Month National Volunteer Blood Donor Month Oatmeal Month Healthy Weight Week (Jan. 16-20) Sugar Awareness Week (Jan. 16-20) National Spaghetti Day (Jan. 4) National Technology Day (Jan. 6) Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 16) National Compliment Day (Jan. 24) Chinese New Year–Year of the Rooster (Jan. 28) FEBRUARY American Heart Month National Cherry Month Sweet Potato Month Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week (Feb. 6-12) National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 23-Mar. 1) Elmo’s Birthday (Feb. 3) Super Bowl (Feb. 5) National Bagel Day (Feb. 9) Grammy Awards (Feb. 12) Presidents Day (Feb. 20) For more observances and promotional ideas, check out SN’s 2016-17 Promotional Calendar at www.schoolnutrition.org/promocalendar. “TUESDAY” TIDBITS USDA Addresses Disabilities Accommodations In late September, USDA issued a new policy memo regarding reasonable modifications to meals or meal service to accommodate children with disabilities participating in the federal school meals programs. It clarifies changes made to the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 and reflects the position that FNS will take in compliance reviews and enforcement action. The memo addresses the definition of a disability, substitutions and other reasonable modifications, reimbursement, accessibility and procedural safeguards, while emphasizing the value of a team approach to accommodating students with disabilities. Contact your state agency for details. Unpaid Meal Challenges Resource Released USDA has published Overcoming the Unpaid Meal Challenge: Proven Strategies from Our Nation’s Schools, a guide summarizing best practices and strategies from districts across the country. This resource (http://tinyurl.com/Mealchargeresource-USDA) is designed to support operators in their efforts to address this challenge. It is a follow-up to USDA’s requirement that all SFAs have a written and “clearly communicated” meal charge policy by July 1, 2017. The intent of this requirement is to ensure a consistent and transparent approach to the issue. Policies must be provided to the state agency during the Administrative Review. New Bill Supports CEP U.S. Representative Richard Nolan (D-Minn.) introduced H.Res. 913, a resolution to “support a federal, publicly funded universal school meal and nutrition program.” The legislation underscores the value of the Community Eligibility Provision to increase the availability of school meals, eliminate stigma and reduce paperwork. At press time, the resolution was co-sponsored by seven other U.S. Representatives and referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Nutrition Education Resource Targets Teens USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion has released an update of its SuperTracker Nutrition Lesson Plan resource, which helps schools teach students in grades 9-12 how to build healthy eating styles. The lesson plans have been updated to reflect the 2015-16 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To download, visit www.choosemyplate.gov/teachers. Tuesday Morning is SNA’s free weekly policy e-newsletter. Subscribe at www.schoolnutrition.org/Newsletters/TuesdayMorning. INGREDIENTS FOR HEALTH: CLEMENTINES A variety of a mandarin orange and a cousin to tangerines, this small, seedless citrus jewel is one to try. TRY THIS. A light, refreshing clementine salad can be made by mixing baby greens with chopped carrots, celery and green onions, then adding sliced almonds, crumbled goat cheese and sliced clementines. Top with a sprinkle of your favorite vinaigrette. NUTRITIONAL PROFILE. All mandarins—including clementines and tangerines—have a similar nutritional breakdown. They’re low in calories, but super-high in vitamin C, with more than a half-day’s worth. HOW TO EAT. Taking a bite really couldn’t be easier—simply peel and enjoy. Because clementines are seed-free, you don’t have to worry about accidentally breaking a tooth! Clementines and tangerines are varieties of the mandarin orange, which originated in China. To stay seedless, clementine shoots must be grafted onto other varietals. READ MORE. “Mandarin Oranges, Rising Stars of the Fruit Bowl,” The New York Times, http://tinyurl.com/clementines-SN A Few Notes About the Right to Vote As this issue of School Nutrition begins to arrive in reader mailboxes, Americans will be heading to the polls to determine the next president and Congress of the United States. We hope that each of you took this fundamental democratic right and responsibility seriously and cast your vote. While awaiting—or digesting—the results, let’s take this opportunity to learn more about voting. • FACT: The U.S. Constitution originally did not define the specifics of who was eligible to vote—each state was charged with setting its own eligibility criteria. Most states allowed only white adult male property owners to vote. By 1856, white men were allowed to vote in all states, regardless of property ownership. • 4 AMENDMENTS: Constitutional amendments extended voting rights to different groups of people. Specifically, the amendments state that voting rights cannot be denied or abridged based on race, color or previous condition of servitude (slavery) (1870); on account of gender (1920); on account of the failure to pay poll or other taxes (1964); and on account of age, provided the voter is 18 or older (1971). • NOVEMBER: Why are U.S. elections held in November? The answer revolves around farmers as a dominant constituent group in our early history. November is a prime time between harvest season and the cold months that made it hard to travel by horse and buggy. • TUESDAY: How did Tuesday get selected? Those same farmers tended to need a full day to get to the county seat, a day to vote and a day to get back—without interfering with days for worship. While Wednesday was a contender, that was a market day in many communities—so Tuesday won out. In 1845, it was officially established as the first Tuesday after the first Monday. Thus, 2016’s November 8 schedule represents the latest possible date. • 57.1%: In 2008, 57.1% of eligible voters cast a ballot. In 2012, 54.9% of eligible voters cast a ballot. The United States is ranked a shameful 139th out of 172 countries in voter participation. • 10.7 MILLION: This year, there are 10.7 million more eligible voters than in 2012. One-third of the electorate are Millennials. Nearly one-third are Hispanic, Black, Asian or another racial or ethnic minority.
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