Trailblazing school districts awarded for nutritional excellence

Mar 05, 2024


The United States Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with Action for Healthy Kids, has spotlighted four school districts from Alaska, Iowa, Maine, and Ohio with Healthy Meals Incentives Recognition Awards. These awards, announced during National School Breakfast Week, acknowledge the districts' forward-thinking efforts to improve school meal quality, emphasizing the role of nutritious food in children's daily lives and education. 

The recognized schools have implemented a variety of strategies to enhance meal appeal and nutritional content, ranging from integrating fresh, local ingredients to involving students in the menu selection process. Initiatives like Clear Lake Community School District's monthly taste tests featuring locally grown foods, and Sandy Valley Local School District's advisory board of students evaluating new menu items, exemplify the dynamic ways schools are working to meet dietary guidelines and engage the school community. 

The awards highlight the importance of incorporating culturally relevant and scratch-made items into school menus, as demonstrated by Petersburg School District and Regional School Unit 89. These districts have successfully introduced items such as moose meat dishes and homemade sub rolls, showing a commitment to both nutrition and local culture. 

The Healthy Meals Incentives Recognition Awards and the accompanying grants support these districts in continuing to innovate and improve their meal programs. This initiative is part of a broader USDA effort under the Biden-Harris Administration to support nutritious eating habits among the nation's youth, ensuring that school meals contribute positively to their health and well-being. 

With an ongoing invitation for schools to apply for recognition, the USDA aims to encourage more districts to explore innovative ways to enhance the quality and appeal of school meals. This effort is in line with the White House National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to improving nutrition and eliminating hunger across the United States.

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