Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: New School Lunch Plan Will Get Kids to Eat More Fruits & Veggies?

TheBUZZ : New school lunch plan will get kids to eat more fruits & veggies?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Guiding children to make more nutritious meal choices at school will help to instill lifelong healthy habits and may help to decrease childhood obesity.

WHAT WE KNOW

There is a lot of research supporting the benefits of diets rich in fruits and vegetables. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those who eat healthy diets abundant in fruits and vegetables have a decreased risk of chronic disease such as heart disease and certain types of cancer. Also, fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat and they are packed with fiber. They keep you satisfied while providing your body with vital nutrients.

School lunch programs and USDA are working to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables children are consuming on a daily basis. New standards will be mandated beginning this fall with the hope of helping kids make healthier meal choices and fighting childhood obesity.¹

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

School lunch programs are focusing on educating their staff to monitor the trays of every student, making sure each tray meets the new requirements mandated by the USDA. Each tray must have at least one serving of a fruit or vegetable. Other changes include an increase in whole grains, inclusion of skim or 1% milk with each meal, and strict limits on saturated and trans fats, sodium, and calories. There will also be a wider variety of fruit and vegetable choices offered.²

OUR ADVICE

You can help your kids make healthy meal choices at home as well as in school. Try a few of these tips and ideas to make living a healthy lifestyle exciting and rewarding for them.

  • Kid’s Choice.  Get your kids involved with meal planning.  Have them pick the fruit or vegetable to be served with breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.  Help them research the fruit or vegetable of choice, then let your culinary expert announce a few fun facts about her/his star ingredient of the day.
  • It’s My Party.   Invite your child’s friends to get involved with her/his next birthday party. You can also host a cooking demo for kids. Try one of our Healthy Recipes for Kids and have each child be in charge of a step in the recipe.  You could also make chef’s hats out of paper and encourage the kids to decorate their own!
  • An Apple a Day.  Fall is the perfect time for apple picking.  Gather your family for a fun day outdoors in an apple orchard.  This is an opportune time to show your kids where their food comes from.  You could even end your day by making our Baked Apples with the freshly picked apples!

 

¹ Comparison of Current & New Regulatory Requirements under Final Rule “Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs” Jan. 2012
http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Legislation/comparison.pdf

² USDA Unveils Historic Improvements to Meals Served in America’s Schools Jan. 2012. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cga/PressReleases/2012/0023.htm

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