FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
The School Food Revolution:
More schools cooking from scratch and serving healthier pre-prepared foods, but limited equipment, funds and staff resources are a persistent challenge.
National Harbor, MD (April 20, 2011) – School nutrition programs across the country are preparing more school meals from scratch or serving healthier pre-prepared entrees and sides.
However, school nutrition programs face enormous hurdles in their efforts to scratch cook. In the early years of the National School Lunch Program, schools received financial assistance to help cover the cost of expensive commercial grade equipment purchases. But the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 eliminated that assistance and slashed other support for school meals.
Since then, as food prices have climbed, many school nutrition programs have struggled to break even, let alone invest in new equipment, hire the additional staff necessary to scratch-prep meals and train cooks on proper handling techniques for raw meat in accordance with strict school food safety standards.
As a result, school nutrition programs must have access to healthy, pre-prepared foods that meet the nutrition requirements for school meals. Food companies are meeting this critical need, and have made tremendous progress in improving their foods using healthier preparation methods, leaner meats, whole grain ingredients and less sodium and sugar.
Many of these companies have made noteworthy commitments to provide healthier products, including the multi-industry agreement with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to help schools serve healthier meals at more affordable prices and The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation’s pledge to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to reduce calories by 1.5 trillion a year. Food industry efforts in schools and in the commercial market where families and restaurants rely on pre-prepared foods will be critical to helping America's families improve their diets.
SNA, (schoolnutrition.org ) the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 53,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. Founded in 1946, the Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals.
SNA is issuing a series of articles highlighting the School Food Revolution occurring nationwide and the ways schools have raised the bar for school meals. To read the first article in this series, visit schoolnutrition.org/Blog.aspx?id=15266&blogid=564.
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