18 states & 1 US territory receive funds for 2012...
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan (l) on Thursday announced $5.2 million in grants to support schools as they transition to the new meal patterns mandated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act 2010. Eighteen states and one US territory received the Team Nutrition training funding, which will be used for technical assistance, including training cafeteria staff and providing nutrition education for children.
"When we serve our children healthy school meals, we're making a critical investment in their academic performance, their physical health, and their future," said Merrigan.
The new school meal pattern guidelines call for whole grains, lean meats, low fat dairy, fruits and vegetables at each meal, and a reduction in fat, salt, and calories in lunches. Under the new law, total calories for meals have been limited based on grade to ensure children are being served the correct potion size. 32 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program.
Schools applied last Spring for the funding, which will help the process of meeting the new school meal requirements, encourage HealthierUS School Challenge participation, support students' nutritious choices by changing the cafeteria environment in a way that encourages the selection of healthy foods, and "promote healthier environments to align with the Local Wellness Policy requirements established in the Act," according to the Department.
"Today's announcement reflects our ongoing commitment to provide States with the tools they need to build a healthy school environment," Merrigan said. "Providing nutrition education resources, extending training and technical assistance to foodservice professionals, and building community support helps ensure that every child in America has a chance to succeed."
Funding will be made available for the period of September 30, 2012 through September 30, 2014, to assist State agencies in achieving the Team Nutrition goals. States must apply Team Nutrition's three behavior-focused strategies:
*Provide training and technical assistance to child nutrition foodservice professionals to enable them to prepare and serve nutritious meals that appeal to children.
*Provide fun and interactive nutrition education for children, teachers, parents, and other caregivers.
*Build school and community support for creating healthy school environments that are conducive to healthy eating and physical activity.
USDA is awarding approximately $5.2 million in 18 States and one territory including:
New Jersey, $324,151.00
North Dakota, $247,580.00
West Virginia, $346,515.00
To learn about the new meal standards, go to www.fns.usda.gov/healthierschoolday.