Navigate / search

Got a Question? #AskUSDA – USDA Has Made Major Improvements to School Meals.

USDA Healthier School Day

Now that the school year has started, everyone is abuzz about the healthier meals being served at schools all over the country. As a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, starting this fall, school meals are featuring more whole grains, both fruits and vegetables at every meal, and less sodium and trans fat. Portion sizes are adjusted for age, among other improvements.

As a result, you may have questions like:

What kinds of new foods will my child’s school offer?

What prompted the changes?

What can I do to help my child eat healthier at home?

USDA is reaching out to help parents, teachers, school administrators, school food services workers and others gain a better understanding of the changes being made and how they benefit students.

To answer your questions, we’ll be hosting a live Twitter chat on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm EST. Ask our Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Dr. Janey Thornton, about our school meals programs and our work to make the school day healthier. Dr. Thornton played a key role in bringing these changes to fruition and this is a great opportunity to touch base with a national leader in school meal services.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 programs that form our nation’s nutrition safety net. School meals help prevent child hunger and introduce kids to healthy habits that last a lifetime. You can send your questions on school meals in advance to the @USDA Twitter account using hashtags #SchoolFoodsRule and #AskUSDA.

Please join us! In the meantime, please visit our Healthier School Day website


Food Service Director/Chef CindyAnn Lambright Attends National Farm to Cafeteria Conference… Receives Grant for School Garden Initiative for Central Public Schools.

Farm to school initiatives are growing trends today and will be for decades to come. Taher, Inc. has been committed to offering fresh, made‐from‐scratch meals for schools that include farm‐direct produce. School meal choices at Central Public Schools are chef‐developed and registered dietitianapproved and now, the district will have even more farm‐focused foods to look forward as plans develop for a school garden.

Cindy Ann Lambright, a professional chef and food service director for Taher, Inc. at Central Public Schools manages the school lunch program and recently returned from a national conference that was entirely dedicated to educating attendees about new advances in “Farm to Cafeteria” programming. In addition to gaining knowledge and resources, Cindy Ann was a recipient of a $1,000 grant for school garden programming at Central Public School District.

The conference titled “Digging In!” was held in Burlington, VT and brought together food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, and more to advance their skills in this rapidly growing movement. The conference included skill‐building short‐courses, field trips to Vermont farms and institutions, inspiring speakers and a diverse workshop program as well as networking with folks who are working hard to connect their communities to local, farm‐fresh food.

CindyAnn Lambright

Some of the initial plans for the committee include evaluating an in‐classroom method to empower students to grow culinary herbs for use in school meals and in classroom taste‐test activities. Student involvement in the gardening process means they are more likely to try and accept new tastes and food items.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about involvement in the Farm to School Project, please contact CindyAnn Lambright at Central Public Schools, 952‐467‐7147.


The Last Diet You Will Ever Need

Why is it that we believe we can feed our bodies industrial, nutrient-depleted food-like substances empty of life and be healthy? How did we come to believe that food industry chemicals and processing could replace nature-made foods?

A hundred years ago all food was organic, local, seasonal, fresh or naturally-preserved by ancient methods. All food was food. Now less than 3 percent of our agricultural land is used to grow fruits and vegetables, which should make up 80 percent of our diet. Today there are not even enough fruits and vegetables in this country to allow all Americans to follow the government guidelines to eat five to nine servings a day.

What most of us are left with is industrial food. And who knows what lurks in the average boxed, packaged, or canned factory-made science project. Read more