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21, November 2017 9:45 AM


Past and present members of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California (SLM of CA) Collaborative gathered in conjunction with the California School Nutrition Association conference in November to celebrate nutrition education and healthier eating patterns in California schools. 

Dairy Council of California sponsored an SLM of CA reception hosted by collaborative partners University of California CalFresh, California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division and California Department of Public Health. The reception was attended by school foodservice professionals from around California, as well as student nutrition activity committees.

A poster session allowed school foodservice professionals to share experiences learned from schools that have benefited from CDE Team Nutrition grants and SLM of CA interventions, while distinguished speakers recognized the collaborative and schools for their impactful efforts. 

Glen Price, Chief Deputy for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson at CDE, recognized the collaborative for working to ensure, as he shared via Twitter, that “all children, all schools, and all communities have access to healthy foods.” 

Presenter and distinguished guests. L to R, Heather Reed, CDE; Lisa Melhouse, CDE; Caroline Kurtz, California Department of Public Health; and Glen Price, CDE.Price was so impressed by the improvements achieved through implementation of the SLM of CA strategies that he and State Superintendent Tom Torlakson plan to add cafeteria visits as they tour California schools. 

(Presenter and distinguished guests. L to R, Heather Reed, CDE; Lisa Melhouse, CDE; Caroline Kurtz, California Department of Public Health; and Glen Price, CDE.)

Caroline Kurtz, PhD, Branch Chief of the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch at the California Department of Public Health, shared how the branch has been a contributing partner to the SLM of CA Collaborative and plans to continue the partnership with resources for materials development and professional training statewide. 

An as an example of a partnership in action, Kurtz also addressed continued support for obesity prevention efforts at the local level that will build upon the work being done in schools— extending the learning to parents to help them accept and value healthy changes at school. 

Lisa Melhouse, RDN, SNS, Nutrition Education Program Administrator at CDE’s Nutrition Services Division, is charged with oversight and development of nutrition education and training projects for nutrition professionals working in federal child nutrition programs. Melhouse played a critical role in bringing the CDE Team Nutrition SLM of CA grants to 48 school in California. 

Melhouse shared that, on average, schools awarded the grants implemented 20 additional smarter lunchroom practices. Schools added murals, signage and student art to eating spaces. Meal participation increased, less fresh fruit and milk ended up in the trash, and schools across the state engaged students themselves in revitalizing the cafeteria and promoting nutrition education— truly a combined effort to make a difference in the lives of students by helping them make healthier choices. 

Banning Unified School District Student Nutrition Advisory Council members presented on their activities and were honored for their campuswide student empowerment and engagement efforts. Students conducted research and menu testing to improve meal selection and reduce food waste. 

(Above, Banning Unified School District Student Nutrition Advisory Council members present on their projects and, below, are awarded a certificate of recognition by Tammy Anderson-Wise, Dairy Council of CA CEO.)

Many of the Student Nutrition Advisory Council activities addressed no-cost or low-cost strategies like improving the cafeteria environment, creating attractive food labels and positioning plain milk. The students are finding value in peer-to-peer education and are already planning future strategies and actions to improve nutrition education and food access in a Riverside County food desert where affordable, healthy food options are limited. 

Barbara Lee, Director of Campus Catering at Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, was honored for her efforts in adopting innovative, technology-based nutrition education via a smart screen TV in the cafeteria setting. Piloted as part of the CDE Team Nutrition SLM of CA grant, the digital TV offered dual benefits by promoting meal options and providing nutrition education. 

“Through this project,” said Lee, “I’ve learned nutrition messages that are brief, focused and repetitive can be an effective and powerful way to provide nutrition information to students.” Learn more about Lee's pilot and results here.

(Presenters and awardees. L to R, Heather Reed, CDE; April Mackill, Plumas Lake Elementary School District; Barbara Lee, Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District; and Crystal Young, CDE.)    

The final awardee of the night was April Mackill, Food Service Manager for Plumas Lake Elementary School District. Honored for her efforts in student empowerment and partnership development to support the CDE Team Nutrition SLM of CA grant, Mackill recruited fifth-grade nutrition ambassadors to share daily nutrition messages, highlight locally sourced menu items and even hold taste tests for current and new entrees. A partnership with Principal Marcie Nichols to promote “Wonderful White Milk” resulted in increased selection of plain (versus flavored) milk and a significant decrease in the overall amount of milk being thrown away. Learn more about Mackill's efforts here.

Finally, this reception was an opportunity to recognize SLM of CA technical advising professionals for their services. These individuals, located across the state, work hand–in-hand with school nutrition professionals like Lee and Mackill to initiate the simple, four-step assessment and implementation process that makes the healthy choice the easy choice in the school cafeteria to improve the health of students. 

(SLM of CA technical advising professionals. L to R, Candice Sainz, Dairy Council of CA; Alyson Foote, Dairy Council of CA; Karina Macias, UC CalFresh; Evelyn Morales, UC CalFresh; Krystal Shelden, Dairy Council of CA; and Phoebe Copp, Dairy Council of CA.)

 

Shannan Young, RDN, SNS
Program Director, Food Systems and Access



Tags: balanced eating patterns behavioral economics California CDE CDPH child nutrition CSNA Healthy eating healthy eating for kids milk school foodservice school meals school nutrition Shannan Young smarter lunchrooms smarter lunchrooms movement of CA team nutrition technical advising professionals

01, November 2017 8:54 AM


In September, our Silicon Valley Dietetic Book Club reviewed Meathooked: The History and Science of the 2.5-Million-Years Obsession with Meat by science journalist Marta Zaraska.

The author delves into evolution, culture, taste, marketing, biochemistry and anthropology of eating meat. She begins when single cell organisms started to consume one another, and then to the cut marks that began to appear in prehistoric bones, suggesting that humans began hunting meat about 2.5 million years ago.

Scientists speculate the reason why diets of humans shifted from a plant based eating pattern to animals was related to climate change where plants became less plentiful. Once humans started hunting for meat, a chain of evolutionary events were set in motion. Eating meat, which is more nutrient dense than plants, is thought to be at least partially responsible for the reduction in human gut size. The additional nutrients and increased social interaction that resulted from hunting and sharing meals is linked with increased brain volume. 

While protein has been overhyped in some scientific and lay press over the years, the need for protein and the specific yearning for animal protein is a worldwide phenomenon. When people have enough money to buy meat, they buy it. Eating meat is desirable for status, taste and the protein that it provides. Zaraska recounts her personal story growing up in Poland in the early 1980s standing in line at the butchers shop for at least two hours with the hopes of buying a few sausages. This was despite the fact that in the 1980s, Poles were far from malnourished and typically consumed more than 3,000 calories and 100 grams of protein per person per day. Perhaps this experience, combined with being a vegetarian inspired Zaraska to write this book.

Just like our early ancestors probably started eating meat because the planet was changing, our meat eating habits will likely need to change again as our population grows and the climate changes. The portions recommended from the protein group in the USDA ChooseMyPlate are actually quite small. For reference, the amount recommended for an adult on a 2,000 calorie diet is only 5-1/2 ounces of protein per day. 

As you can see from the graph, 60 percent of Americans overconsume from the protein food group, the only food group that is consistently overconsumed. Americans also tend to not consume protein in ways that optimize utilization – eating a large portion at night and not enough protein throughout the day.

Areas of Agreement

Sustainability and nutrition are interdependent. As a global community, we need to both provide for the nutritional needs of all people while sustaining the environment. Agriculture policies need to consider the needs of the planet, the consumers and the financial health of the farmer. We are all interdependent on one another. 

Banning meat to “save the planet” will only increase the demand for meat. Small changes made by many people– like eating plant-based diet that includes some animal proteins, and minimizing food waste– are small changes that can make a big difference over time.

Where We Differed

Though the author claimed to not be biased, a plant-based, vegetarian agenda became increasingly apparent after the first few chapters. While the book is heavily cited, a high percentage of the references were sympathetic to a vegetarian eating pattern, including Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Vegetarian American. While a vegetarian diet is one of the three recommended eating patterns recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the other two recommended dietary patterns include meat and are supported by scientific evidence.

The Bottom-line

This book may be too dense and academic for the average reader, so overall we do not recommend it. Although the book is biased toward a vegetarian eating pattern and perspective, some of the information about culture, anthropology, taste and evolution is quite interesting. 

Maureen Bligh, MA, RDN and Kristal Shelden, MPH, RDN



Tags: animal protein climate change consensus science Dietary Guidelines for Americans food waste Healthy eating healthy eating patterns Kristal Shelden Maureen Bligh meat plant-based protein registered dietitian book club scientific research sustainability vegetarian

16, October 2017 9:48 AM


Tammy Anderson-Wise addresses attendees at Farm to Foodbank DayTo close out Hunger Action Month in September, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County hosted Farm to Food Bank Day to recognize the many partners who helped achieve the goal of doubling the amount of fresh produce and protein, including milk, donated to food insecure Californians.

Dairy Council of California CEO Tammy Anderson-Wise joined California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, California Association of Food Banks Executive Director Sue Sigler, Second Harvest Food Bank CEO Nicole Suydam and other special guests to celebrate this milestone.

One in eight Californians, including two million children, struggle with food insecurity1. This year the Farm to Family Program provided 214 million pounds of fresh produce to people in need. Dairy Council of CA is a proud Farm to Food Bank partner, providing fresh milk and dairy products through programs like the Great American Milk Drive and Milk2MyPlate

Along with eight grams of protein, milk and dairy foods provide important nutrients that are often missing in the American diet, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Yet milk is one of the most requested, but least donated food bank items2. By partnering with dairy processors and producers, Dairy Council of CA is committed to bringing more milk and dairy foods to food banks, helping Californians elevate their health and access the nutrition they need.

 

Sara Floor
Project Manager II, Communication and Food Access

 

Reference

1. Hunger Fact Sheet, California Association of Food Banks. Accessed online 10/13/2017
2. Great American Milk Drive. Accessed online 10/13/2017

 



Tags: balanced eating families food access Food banks GAMD Health Healthy eating milk nutrition Sara Floor Tammy Anderson-Wise

29, August 2017 9:00 AM


SNA exhibit floorWhere do school nutrition professionals from across the country come together to network, learn about relevant topics in school nutrition and stay up to date on trends affecting the school nutrition environment? The School Nutrition Association National Conference!  

Being part of this year's event in Atlanta, GA was a fantastic experience. Not only is the conference a gigantic school nutrition classroom, but the exhibit hall is full of innovative products and resources and the best opportunity to learn from school nutrition experts. (Special thanks to South Panola School District for this excellent photo of the exhibit floor. Follow them on Instagram at southpanola_foodservice)

As Dairy Council of California advances our cause of elevating the health of children and parents in California through the pursuit of lifelong healthy eating habits, working with school nutrition professionals is an important strategy for success.

Over the past 4 years we have been supporting school nutrition professionals by helping schools across the state implement the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (SLM) principles and practices. Through the SLM, schools can increase meal participation, decrease food waste and help develop a positive image for school meals.  

This year, I had the opportunity to showcase our involvement with the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of CA by presenting an educational session in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), titled “Smarter Lunchrooms = A Positive Image.”

Dawn Soto, my co presenter, highlighted the many positive results they have accomplished through the environmental changes they implemented following SLM strategies. These results include a decrease in food waste, an increase in fruit (75 percent for oranges and apples) and milk consumption, plus an overall increase in school meals participation (11 percent at one school). The efforts underway at LAUSD mean healthier students, with the goal of supporting gains in student test scores and academic achievement.

While the conference as a whole offered a unique chance to network with school nutrition professionals, one of the best places for networking was in the exhibit hall. Learning from each other and sharing ideas to support school cafeterias is the essence of ANC, and seeing this in person was nothing short of inspiring. 

CSNA Conference logoIf you work in or with school nutrition, I highly recommend attending this national conference. If you can't bear to wait a whole year to attend the national conference, the California School Nutrition Association conference is November 9-12 in Sacramento, California. Register today and I'll see you there!
 

Phoebe Copp
Community Nutrition Adviser Supervisor 



Tags: healthy eating for kids school foodservice school nutrition smarter lunchrooms movement of CA

01, June 2017 9:00 AM


June is Dairy Month, our favorite time of the year. It's also time to celebrate dads and grads. No matter what is on your agenda in June, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy and enjoy nutritious family meals at home.

Please note that June will be the last month of monthly meal ideas, as the Family Meals Matter column comes to an end on July 1. Rest assured that you and your family can continue to enjoy nutritious family meals with foods from all five food groups with more recipes on HealthyEating.org.

June Family Meal Recipes

Dairy Month

Grilled Mahi Mahi + Asparagus with Lemon Butter with Apple Cheddar Quinoa Muffins and Honey Poached Pears; plus Shrimp and Cheddar Grits, Real California Curried Carrot Soup, Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole and Yankee Grits.

  

Family Favorites

Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Blackberry MustardBroccoli with Creamy Parmesan sauce and Raspberry Mango Sundae; plus Simple Roast Chicken, Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Rhubarb Fool and Old Fashioned Spaghetti + Meatballs.

Thank you again, dear family meals fans. It's been a blast bringing these meal ideas to you every month.



Tags: balanced meals dairy month Healthy eating meal planning
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

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