School nutrition professionals in the Cleveland, Tenn., area are working together to make dietary changes to reduce the sodium content in student meals. Cleveland City Schools nutrition supervisor Susan Mobley said the sodium reductions required are a significant change and, while schools already are using lower-sodium foods, one of the best ways to reduce salt is to replace canned fruits and vegetables with fresh produce.
A Nebraska elementary school has seen improved student achievement and a decline in the number of students complaining of hunger during the school day since launching a Grab and Go breakfast program. Some say grab-and-go has become an increasingly popular option -- in part because it helps serve students who may be running late in the morning.
The national school lunch and breakfast programs have a history of bipartisan support. U.S. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., say that events in their childhood helped them to recognize the value in school meals and shaped their support for the federal meal program. "I think that's one of the success stories of the programs, is that it has been administered wisely and they are accepted well across the country and provide a lot of benefits for a lot of students who otherwise would not be as healthy as they are," Cochran said of the program's bipartisan support.
A push is under way in Minnesota to increase the number of students eating breakfast at school, with supporters saying such efforts would help students learn and improve the local economy. "It could be a grab-and-go model for high schools or middle schools where, as they come in off the buses, they're grabbing a breakfast and then they're eating it at their lockers," said Jason Langworthy, outreach coordinator at Children's Defense Fund Minnesota, "or having breakfast delivered to first-period classes so that students are eating and continuing that curriculum time."
Instead of buying processed or fast-food snacks, such as sweet potato fries, dips or chicken nuggets, registered dietitian Keri Glassman suggests making them at home. Homemade versions are less expensive, and they can be healthier by baking instead of frying and using more wholesome ingredients, Glassman writes.