MCS Recognizes Professionals who Promote Healthy Meals | Health
From Montgomery County Schools:
Troy, NC: Preparing healthy school meals, teaching healthy nutrition habits, and offering a friendly greeting are all in a day’s work for the 50 school nutrition employees in Montgomery County Schools. The non-profit School Nutrition Association celebrates this professional commitment with School Nutrition Employee Week, May 2-6, 2011. The week is an opportunity for parents, students, school staff and communities to thank those who provide healthy school meals to more than 32 million children each school day.
School nutrition employees must balance many roles and follow numerous federal, state and local regulations to ensure safe and healthy meals are available in schools. They are trained sanitation and food safety experts and must manage financially self-sufficient programs despite limited funds to prepare and serve each meal. School nutrition professionals also provide nutrition education to students, as well as healthy catering services to their communities. They use their creativity to make the cafeteria a fun and welcoming place all year long and perform their jobs each day because they care passionately about the children they serve.
The importance and nutritional value of school meals are well documented. For many children, school lunch is the most important and nutrient-rich meal of their day. In fact, federal regulations ensure that every school lunch offers students their choice of milk, two fruits or vegetables, a grain and a protein. School meals must also meet strict limits for fat, saturated fat and portion size.
School Nutrition Association’s 2010 Back to School Trends Report reveals that, despite rising costs, schools nationwide are offering healthier choices in the lunch line. The survey of school nutrition directors found that:
- More than nine out of ten schools districts are increasing offerings of whole grain products and fresh fruits/vegetables.
- Nearly 70% of districts are reducing or eliminating sodium in foods
- About two-thirds of districts are reducing or limiting added sugar
- More than 50% of districts are increasing vegetarian options
The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 50,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.