Lauderdale, FL (PressExposure) August 27, 2014 -- Just as millions of children are heading back to school, the USDA announced new grant funding to help schools encourage kids to choose healthy foods.
The USDA has also completed a companion tool kit for school districts that includes new research on 'Smarter Lunchroom' strategies.
Schools applying for a grant under the $5.7 million Team Nutrition grant can include Star Food Healthy Express vending machines to increase their reimbursable meals served.
"Nationwide, schools are placing colorful Star Food vending machines near foodservice areas and filling them with USDA compliant, multi-component reimbursable meals for breakfast and lunch," said Joe Gilbert of Star Food Healthy Express, the leader in vending reimbursable meals nationwide. "We have worked with the National Dairy Council and the NFL on their Fuel Up to Play 60 program and believe these grants, and others, make it possible to Feed More Kids, so we are happy to share this information with schools."
Studies have shown that sometimes just making a healthy meal choice visible to the student, and easy to purchase is all that is needed for them to make a nutritious decision. The Star Food Healthy Choice machines not only have clear fronts, but serve students in less than 20 seconds.
Last week in a conference call one of the authors of the Smarter Lunchroom Strategies study said sometimes it's the simple techniques like... "Just placing white milk in front of the chocolate milk increased white milk sales by as much as 26%" said Dr. David Just, co-director for the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics for Child Nutrition Programs.
"We're committed to supporting schools who want to ensure students head back to a healthier school environment this fall," said USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon.
"Parents, teachers, and school nutrition professionals want the best for their children, and want to provide them with proper nutrition so that they can learn and grow into healthy adults. USDA is proud to support the Smarter Lunchroom movement that provides schools with practical, evidence-based tools that they can use to help their students have a healthier school day," said Concannon.
To read more about this new grant, visit: http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/team-nutrition-training-grants
"This week more than 100,000 healthy, multi-component reimbursable meals are going to school kids, and they are being served in less than 20 seconds," said Gilbert.
"With more than 30 million children eligible for free or reduced cost meals, our goal is to reach as many of them as possible." Schools that utilize this grant money to install technology and easy to use machines like Star Food can make that happen right now."
Smarter Lunchrooms, developed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (BEN) Center and funded in part by the USDA, is a set of best practices that have been shown to help encourage kids to make healthy choices.
By using environmental cues such as better product placement and using creative names for healthier foods, these practical, research-based techniques increase student selection of healthier items and reduce plate waste. By changing the display and placement of fruit, for example, the researchers saw a doubling of sales. Similarly, creative naming and display of vegetables increased selection by 40 to 70 percent. Concannon said the Smarter Lunchroom strategies are also being incorporated into the criteria for HealthierUS School Challenge.
About Star Food Healthy Express
Star Food Healthy Express is a product of VE South LC, one of the largest full-service vending machine companies in the Southeast, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Since being introduced to the school nutrition market in 2006, Star Food Healthy Express machines have been adopted by school systems nationwide to "Feed More Kids".
Contact information to learn about grant opportunities that might be available and which could include Star Food for reimbursable meals, call 1-877-857-3663 x 1 and ask for Bob Gottlieb, Director of Educational Services.