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Free Nutrition Resources for Your School

Team Nutrition invites you to visit the new Team Nutrition Schools Network website! The Team Nutrition Schools Network is for schools participating in USDA’s National School Lunch Program that are interested in and working towards creating and sustaining healthy nutrition environments. Members of the network enjoy access to free nutrition education resources and promotional items, networking opportunities, and more.

Not a member? Join today at https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/schools! In January, Team Nutrition Schools will have the opportunity to request new nutrition message decals to display in their cafeterias. Don’t miss out!

Currently a member? Check the website to make sure they have the most updated information for your school, so that you can stay in the know with Team Nutrition. While you’re there, be sure to take a look at the new features, including:

Free Summer Meals for Students in Need

School is almost out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean students who depend on school lunches have to go hungry. USDA’s Summer Food Service Program provides free, nutritious meals to kids in need all over the country. Learn more about the program and find a distribution site near your school.

National Hunger Hotline

The National Hunger Hotline staff connects callers with emergency food providers in their community, government assistance programs such as SNAP and WIC, nutritional assistance programs and various services that promote self-sufficiency.

View the Hunger Hotline flyers below:

Hunger Hotline Flyer – English

Hunger Hotline Flyer – Spanish

The Cost of Raising a Child

USDA recently issued Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015. This report is also known as “The Cost of Raising a Child.” USDA has been tracking the cost of raising a child since 1960 and this analysis examines expenses by age of child, household income, budgetary component, and region of the country.

Based on the most recent data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey, in 2015, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income ($59,200-$107,400), two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in 2015 may expect to spend $233,610 ($284,570 if projected inflation costs are factored in*) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through age 17. This does not include the cost of a college education.

Where does the money go? For a middle-income family, housing accounts for the largest share at 29% of total child-rearing costs.  Food is second at 18%, and child care/education (for those with the expense) is third at 16%. Expenses vary depending on the age of the child.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Use these tips and materials from the USDA to make healthy choices while staying within your budget.

For additional information, access the USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child calculator, to look at spending patterns for families similar to yours.

Real Solutions for a Healthy New Year

Every January, Americans are bombarded with information about New Year’s resolutions. While many of us set our hopes high on January 1st, our commitment to our lofty resolutions tends to dwindle over time.  In fact, by June, less than half of us are still committed to accomplishing our New Year’s resolutions! One reason for this waning interest is that our resolutions often are unrealistic, incorporating extreme goals and expecting immediate perfection. We sabotage ourselves with these strategies. Instead, starting with small steps and celebrating milestones along the way are shown to be more helpful strategies in keeping resolutions.

Real solutions are small, practical changes that add up to a healthier lifestyle over time. Real solutions do not have an end date; they are changes that can be incorporated into Americans’ lifestyles to help maintain a healthy eating style long term. USDA’s MyPlate, MyWins meets Americans where they are and helps to build healthier eating habits from there, rather than setting unrealistic goals at the start. MyPlate, My Wins allows Americans to personalize their goals and eating habits to fit their needs.

If you are committed to making healthy changes in 2017, USDA is committed to providing you with resources to help you begin the new year in a healthy way. An updated MyPlate, MyWins page will help guide Americans through the process of finding a healthier eating style. The Stories from Families and Individuals page has videos from relatable families about their healthy eating solutions. The page also features tips and solutions from our own MyPlate staff!

To motivate and guide you to achieve attainable nutrition goals, SuperTracker, USDA’s free online food and activity tracker, is hosting a 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge. The Challenge will focus on the 5 MyPlate food groups and incorporating a healthier eating style into your life. I encourage you to get involved in this MyPlate New Year’s Challenge, and continue to use SuperTracker as a tool to track your progress into the future. The Challenge will start on January 2nd; log in or create an account in SuperTracker and join the MyPlate New Year’s Challenge!

Healthy Snack List from Audubon Park Elementary

At Audubon Park Elementary, students’ health and wellness are important.

The Healthy School Team (HST) at Audubon Park Elementary realized that it can be often be confusing and complicated to find healthy snack foods appropriate for the classroom.  As a result, the HST created a list of healthy snacks that meet Smart Snack Standards issued by the USDA and followed by Orange County Public Schools.  The snacks are all mom/HST member approved. Many are sold in bulk at Costco or other cost-saving stores.

“We have some very dedicated parents and staff over here at Audubon Park Elementary who are dedicated to healthy life choices,” said Sean Paino, HST leader at Audubon Park Elementary.  “We came up with what we thought would be an acceptable list for healthy snacks.”

The list was sent home with the latest school newsletter so all parents can see the quick, healthy, and kid/mom approved snacks for school.

We love this list and hope you do as well!

Download the Healthy Snack List .

New: 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Dietary-GuidelinesThe 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released last week.  The guidelines, which are revised every five years, are based on evolving nutrition science and serve as the government’s official advice on what to eat. One concrete change: Americans are being told to limit sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories.

Here’s a comparison of the added sugars that the average American eats with how much they should be eating, according to the most recent guidelines:

sugars-chartKey Recommendations

Consume a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level.

A healthy eating pattern includes:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  • Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium

Additional recommendations include:

  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
  • Meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
 Click here for additional information on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans