Articles and Information from GA Foods

Why We Heart Lunch Ladies!

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Aug 22, 2018 11:37:16 AM

It’s Back-to-School Season 2018! This is the time of the year when parents are bombarded with… well, everything! Between school supply lists, new school clothes or uniforms, teacher meet and greets, first day photos, and finding the perfect backpack, the last thing on a parent’s mind is packing a healthy lunch. Meals at school are essential to student health and well-being. They ensure that children have the nutrition they need to learn.

My son was a picky eater and always at the bottom of the weight percentile on his growth chart. As a Registered Dietitian, I thought I could make him healthier lunches from home. But studies have shown that school meals are healthier than meals from home. School meals are rich in lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. School meals also limit unhealthy fats and sodium.

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Topics: Child Nutrition, Nutrition

National Summer Food Service Program Kickoff Week

Posted by Sean LoBianco on Jun 7, 2018 1:02:39 PM

This week is National Summer Food Service Program Kickoff Week, a program that ensures children and teens have access to nutritious meals when school lets out. Federal assistance, through the program, is provided to state agencies and non-profit sponsors to help children receive nutrition when school is not in session. Nearly 21.5 million children are eligible for this program, yet only 1 in 6 of them currently receive this according to a 2016 report from the Food Research Action Center.

Poor nutrition during the summer months affects the child's academic performance during the school year. It is one of the many reasons the summer program is essential. While in school, students across the country are eating healthier than ever thanks to the Hunger-Free Kids Act. Students are receiving meals with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy, which are low in sugar, fat, and sodium. Summer feeding programs continue these great meals and help students return to school ready to learn.

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Topics: Child Nutrition, Summer Meals

How to Plan Menus with Foods Kids Love

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on May 31, 2018 9:52:00 AM

Planning meals for child nutrition programs is not easy. You have to take into consideration federal nutrient requirements, food budget, kitchen equipment, and available staff. Plus, you have to use foods that appeal to children!

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Topics: Menu Planning, Child Nutrition

Is the Best Time for Lunch After Recess?

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Feb 28, 2018 11:13:49 AM

In multiple schools across the United States, students eat their lunch before heading outside for recess. Emerging evidence suggests that scheduling recess before lunch may offer many benefits, including better behavior, less food waste, increased ability to focus, and improved academic achievement.

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Topics: Healthy Lunch, School Lunch, Child Nutrition

Academic Benefits from Physical Activity in the Classroom

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Feb 21, 2018 10:10:56 AM

Today's schools are facing many obstacles to achieve their academic goals; poverty, bullying, technology, no child left behind, budget cuts, and student health, just to name a few. All of these issues are making it more challenging, and schools are having to adapt quickly to be successful with their students. 

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Topics: Child Nutrition, Obesity, Resources for Teachers

Reducing Child Hunger with Summer Food Service Programs

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Apr 13, 2017 10:10:26 AM


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Topics: Child Nutrition, Summer Meals, SFSP, Nutrition

Benefits of School Lunch

Posted by Joann Pierre, MS, RD, LDN on Oct 12, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Since 1962, the U.S. has been celebrating National School Lunch Week in appreciation of the National School Lunch Program. This year's celebrations will run from October 10th to 14th with the theme 'Show Your Spirit'. The theme was chosen to remind students, parents, and school officials that a healthy school lunch is a big part of enabling children to get through the day. 

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Topics: Child Nutrition, School Lunch, National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

Teens and Food Insecurity

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Oct 5, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Food insecurity in children is a significant problem in the United States. According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates, 7.8 percent of American households with children were food insecure* in 2015 – a percentage that amounts to 3 million households that were unable to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children. Additionally, in 247,000 households, food security was characterized as very low, indicating periods of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.

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Topics: Child Nutrition, Food Insecurity, School Lunch, School Breakfast, National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

Back-to-School Nutrition Tips for Families!

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Aug 24, 2016 11:00:00 AM

As children head back to school, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to celebrate Kids Eat Right Month by ensuring children are properly fueled to grow and succeed.

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Topics: Child Nutrition

Summer Meals Feed Hungry Kids

Posted by Joann Pierre, MS, RD, LDN on May 11, 2016 1:44:24 PM

summer_feeding.pngThroughout the school year, many children rely on school meal programs to keep hunger at bay. Due to food scarcity in the home, these meals may be the only substantial nutrition some of these kids receive each day. However, when summer break arrives, many of these child nutrition programs end and kids are left hungry. This is when they require community assistance to fill the gap. Here are ways that communities can get healthy summer meals to children in need.

The Summer Food Service Program

Summer should be a time of rest and fun. It should also be a time for kids to develop in healthy ways so that they can learn things quickly when the new school year begins. Children living in poverty are at a disadvantage in summer because they no longer have access to the meals they normally get in school.

Hunger leads to increased illnesses and delayed development, which puts these children behind their peers when school starts again. If you wonder what can be done about this, you aren’t alone. Many people are unaware of government resources that are available for providing free summer meals to kids. One of the biggest programs is the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, which provides reimbursement for organizations offering summer meal programsfor eligible children. If you want to mobilize a new summer food service for hungry kids in your area, your first step should be to look over the USDA’s programguidelines and contact them for assistance.

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Topics: Child Nutrition, Food Assistance, Food Assistance Programs, Food Security

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