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January 8, 2013
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Daily news about school nutrition

SNA Special Report

Part I: New School Meal Patterns
School nutrition professionals have been busy this school year implementing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new meal patterns, which call for more produce and whole grains and less sodium and calories in school meals.

In Part I of this two-part special report, SNA SmartBrief provides an update on the new meal patterns, highlights ways in which schools are bringing students into the conversation and shares meal ideas straight from school kitchens. In addition, we offer a list of valuable resources from the School Nutrition Association.

In Part II of this report, coming Thursday, SNA SmartBrief will take a look at innovative steps schools are taking to meet the new meal patterns, examine how the new standards are influencing practices beyond the cafeteria and hear from experts in the field.

If you don't receive SNA SmartBrief daily, we urge you to sign up for our timely e-newsletter. SNA SmartBrief delivers the stories making news in your profession directly to your inbox -- for free.
Keep Kids' Favorites, Just Lose Some Sodium
Taste trumps health with kids. That's the challenge for K-12 operators striving to lower sodium. At McCormick For Chefs®, flavor always wins. Now you'll always serve popular foods kids will enjoy. For more products
  Rules Update 
  • USDA allows schools to serve more meat, grains
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has relaxed new school-lunch requirements for this school year, allowing more grains, starches and protein to be served. The change was welcomed by some federal lawmakers, and at least one senator is advocating making the change permanent. "I'm grateful to [Agriculture] Secretary [Tom] Vilsack for recognizing that the rules need to allow for individual differences among children and the prerogatives of local school districts, and resources available to them," said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. The Hill/Blog Briefing Room (12/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • SNA: School-meal changes offer needed flexibility
    The School Nutrition Association is pleased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to -- at least temporarily -- lift a cap on the amount of protein and grains that can be served in schools, SNA President Sandra Ford says. "School-nutrition professionals have faced significant menu-planning, operating, financial challenges and more as a result of the new meal-pattern requirements. USDA's new guidance acknowledges those challenges and gives school-meal programs more flexibility," she said. Education Week/Rules for Engagement (12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Stick with Spaghetti, Just Lose Some Sodium
Taste trumps health with kids, but it doesn't have to be a challenge with recipes like Spaghetti with Chicken. At McCormick For Chefs®, flavor always wins, so you'll serve food kids will enjoy. For more recipe ideas visit
  Student Voice 
  • L.A. schools to give students more say in meal planning
    The Los Angeles Unified School District will make nutrition education part of the school curriculum, give students more input in school meals and ensure that they receive at least 20 minutes to eat. David Binkle, L.A. Unified's food-services director, says nutrition professionals plan to continue surveying students about school meals and form "culinary advisory teams" to help direct school-nutrition efforts. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (12/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • N.C. students give feedback on healthier meals
    The Gaston County school district in North Carolina has surveyed its students and conducted taste tests with the goal of serving food that students will like. So far, students have embraced healthier options served under new federal standards for school meals, including a nacho cheese sauce, pepperoni pizza and Chex mix cereal bars. "I think it's a little bit better than it used to be," said fifth-grader Abby Pearson, who said she has noticed that her school serves healthier meals with less salt. The Gaston Gazette (N.C.) (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Don't Say Adios to Nachos, Just Lose Some Sodium.
Taste trumps health with kids, but it doesn't have to be a challenge with Nachos. At McCormick For Chefs®, flavor always wins, so you'll always serve foods kids will enjoy. For more recipe ideas
  From the Kitchen 
  • Chefs showcase healthy school meals in Mich.
    Students at three high schools in Michigan got a taste of new, healthier meals during the recent "Showcase of Chefs." Students tasted meals -- all of which met nutrition standards under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act -- and offered feedback. On the menu were southwest cantina bowls, turkey Florentine wraps, stuffed crust pizza and cowboy stew. Overall, students said they enjoyed the healthier fare and would buy it at school. (Michigan) (free registration) (12/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Calif. district shares recipe for multigrain bread
    School-nutrition professionals in a California school district are using a recipe for multigrain bread that they say is made of 50% whole grain and is tasty and moist. The recipe, which is included in this article, was developed over the summer and meets new federal guidelines for school meals. "It's lighter," said school-nutrition professional Susan Uribe. "It's moist. It rises more. It looks a lot better and it tastes better." Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) (12/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  SNA Resources 
  • Resources for meeting the new meal pattern
    As school-nutrition leaders continue to identify creative solutions to meet the new meal pattern, SNA continues to update resources to share with members in the Meal Pattern Resource Center. This one-stop shop for materials and news is periodically updated as information becomes available, including the most recent release of revised guidance on the weekly grain and protein maximums. To access this member-exclusive benefit, visit the SNA website. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New Meal Pattern PR Tool Kit
    Besides the Meal Pattern Resource Center, SNA has developed a tool kit and PR tools to help association members get the word out to parents about the healthy changes in school cafeterias. The tool kit includes a sample letter to parents in English and Spanish, a template news release, talking points and more. USDA also has resources available. The School Day Just Got Healthier has brochures, fact sheets, FAQs, fliers, templates and more to talk about school meals. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Product announcements appearing in SmartBrief are paid advertisements and do not reflect actual SNA endorsements. The news reported in SmartBrief does not necessarily reflect the official position of SNA's.
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