National School Lunch Week – Let’s Grow Healthy

National School Lunch Week (NSLW) is October 10-14, 2011.  The theme is “Let’s Grow Healthy”. “School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy” will help students understand where food comes from while highlighting the overall benefit that school lunch helps kids grow strong and healthy. The NSLW 2011 theme provides the opportunity to try something new and promote locally sourced foods. From a harvest-of-the-month menu to a school garden to a meet-the-farmer educational presentation and much more, there’s a farm-to-school model or activity that can fit the needs of any school or district!

October 2011 is also the first annual National Farm to School Month which ties in well with the “School Lunch – Let’s Grow Healthy” theme.  The official website has a number of additional resources if you are looking to serve locally grown foods or find a local farmer to work with. Under the National School Lunch Program, school lunches must meet federal nutrition standards and include a choice of fruit, vegetable, dairy, grain and protein.

Indiana schools, despite limited budgets, are meeting Federal requirements and going the extra mile to make school meals healthy and enticing for students.  One way they are doing this is by the NFL and National Dairy Council’s Fuel Up to Play 60 in school program.  Fuel Up to Play 60 can include an number of engaging activities like taste testing, grab and go breakfasts, walking clubs and much more. Even student favorites have been become more nutritious – i.e. burgers are made with lean meat and served on whole wheat buns; burritos are made with ground turkey meat, low-fat cheese and vegetables etc.  With all these tasty options, children don’t even realize they are eating healthier foods!

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