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Good Tasting and Good-For-You: Heading Back to School for Lunch
ALEXANDRIA, Va. August 21, 2006 – Picture this: a hot turkey and cheese sandwich on a whole wheat hoagie roll, with a raw vegetable medley, chilled pineapple, applesauce cake and cold, low fat milk. The turkey is lean, the cheese is reduced fat, and the entire meal cost $1.75. Where is this nutritious and delicious value meal being served? Right down the street in a school cafeteria. As students return back to school this month they’ll find high quality school lunches and breakfasts that meet federal nutritional standards and receive high marks on local student taste tests. And, as a new report from the School Nutrition Association found – students are more likely to find new school policies in place designed to create healthy school nutrition environments that promote lifelong positive eating and physical activity habits.
The School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) 2006 Back to School Trends Survey conducted July 19, 2006, at SNA’s Annual National Conference, found that over 71% of school districts have made “significant” efforts during the past two years to offer healthy meal choices through the National School Lunch Program. Over 63% of school nutrition directors surveyed also said their districts have made “significant” efforts to offer healthy a la carte choices in the past two years – up from just 38% in 2003. Over 61% of school districts also made “significant” efforts to offer healthy choices in school breakfasts. The most significant efforts in all categories are being made in the nation’s largest school districts.
The Trends Survey comes the month after school districts were to pass local wellness policies to comply with a requirement of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. According to the Survey, a large majority (86.5%) of the districts report that they have passed a local wellness policy. An additional 8.8% say a policy has not yet passed, but is in development. Most (60.5%) of these wellness policies involve general or broad nutrition guidelines, with only one-third involving specific nutrition guidelines. Responses are generally consistent across district size and location segments. Earlier this month SNA released a summary of key characteristics of the local wellness policies passed by the nation’s top 100 school districts by enrollment.
Other findings from the survey are highlighted below.
The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.
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