OSD Child Nutrition Blog

  • Local Book Talk Event and New Community Development Show Love for Oxford’s Child Nutrition Summer Meal Program

    Posted by Kelly Graeber on 6/28/2017
    photo of book talk event

    John T. Edge, award-winning food writer and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, visits with Oxford School District Child Nutrition Director Dan Westmoreland during a book talk event at Splinter Creek on June 15. The event raised over $700, benefiting the district’s Child Nutrition Summer Meal Program. [Photo credit: Erin Austen Abbott for Splinter Creek]

    Every weekday during the summer months, the Oxford School District (OSD) Summer Meal Program — a program within the district’s child nutrition department — provides children and youth up to the age of 18 a chance to receive nutritious meals when the school year ends.

    Recently, the program’s efforts to provide free breakfast and lunch on a daily basis drew the attention of John T. Edge, award-winning food writer and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Splinter Creek hosted a book talk, dinner and fellowship event on June 15, 2017, to benefit the OSD Summer Meal Program. The book talk event spotlighted John T. Edge’s latest work, The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South,  and raised over $700 for the Summer Meal Program’s ongoing efforts.

    For more information on the OSD Summer Meal Program, visit www.oxfordsd.org/SummerMeals. For more information on Splinter Creek, visit splintercreekms.com.

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  • Free Summer Meals for Kids

    Posted by Tim Howington on 4/21/2016

    With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time for communities and parents to start thinking about activities for kids when school is out. With delicious, fresh local fruits and veggies in season, naturally it should be easy to keep kids healthy during summer months. However, without the structure of school and after-school activities, these lazy summer days are an open invitation for our kids to constantly snack, and spend endless hours playing video games and watching TV.

    One way to make sure your kids eat healthy this summer is for them to participate in the Oxford School District's (OSD) FREE Summer Food Service Program for children. From June 1 to July 22, our summer meal program will serve free breakfast and lunch to children ages one to 18. Meals will be served Monday through Friday at Oxford Intermediate School, 501 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. Breakfast is from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and lunch is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. No forms, applications, or I.D. are required to participate.

    For more information or if you have any questions, contact OSD Child Nutrition Director Tim Howington by email at thowington@oxfordsd.org or call (662) 234-3541.

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  • Newly Improved Nutrition Standards for School Meals

    Posted by Tim Howington on 1/19/2016 10:10:00 AM

    The School Nutrition Association recently worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the White House and the Senate to reach an agreement to improve nutrition standards for school meals. The Agreement will give schools flexibility with areas such as offering healthy A La Carte items, using white flour in some foods, decreasing sodium restrictions, and increasing use of salad bars and shared tables. This will allow schools to provide meals that are more appealing to students’ taste and decrease food waste in the cafeterias. The Agreement will be included in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Child Nutrition Bill, scheduled for this Wednesday, January 20th.

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  • Researchers Discover Surprisingly Simple Way to Get Kids to Eat More Veggies

    Posted by Roberto A. Ferdman on 10/12/2015

    It seems like an age-old problem — kids not eating their vegetables — and it is. Little ones, more interested in macaroni and cheese than sautéed spinach, are still leaving the latter largely untouched. The proof is both anecdotal — what parent hasn't tussled with this? — and borne out in data. Nine out of 10 children, after all, still don't eat enough vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The problem has been blamed, at least in part, for the deteriorating diets of American youth. It has also been on clear display ever since the government updated, in 2013, its nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program. Children, suddenly confronted with vegetables on every plate (as required as part of the change), have responded not by eating them but by leaving them on their plates — untouched.

    It's a poignant example of how kids are really good at making really bad decisions about food. And it has proved pretty frustrating for health and nutrition advocates, who can't seem to find a reasonable way to get children to eat more healthfully at school.

    But it turns out there might be an ingenious solution hiding beneath everyone's nose.

    Researchers at Texas A&M University, looking for patterns in food consumption among elementary school children, found an interesting quirk about when and why kids choose to eat their vegetables. After analyzing plate waste data from nearly 8,500 students, it seems there's at least one variable that tends to affect whether kids eat their broccoli, spinach or green beans more than anything: what else is on the plate.

    Kids, in short, are much more likely to eat their vegetable portion when it's paired with a food that isn't so delicious it gets all the attention. When chicken nuggets and burgers, the most popular items among schoolchildren, are on the menu, for instance, vegetable waste tends to rise significantly. When other less-beloved foods, like deli sliders or baked potatoes, are served, the opposite seems to happen.

    "Pairings of entrées and vegetables are an important consideration when assessing plate waste among elementary school children," the researchers note.

    Indeed, the effect can work the other way around. The study found that children tend to eat less of their entree when popular vegetables (mostly starchy fried vegetables, like tater tots and french fries, which many wouldn't classify as vegetables) are offered. When the entree is paired with steamed broccoli — the vegetable children eat the least of on average — kids instead eat more of the main dish.

    And that interrelationship can be useful in reducing the amount of food wasted at schools, which has been a persistent problem.

    But these observations are probably more useful as a gauge for how appetizing vegetable are in different contexts than as a subscription for what pairings will lead to the least amount of food waste. Kids' favorite meals, after all, aren't particularly healthy. What's more, they, too, lead to considerable waste. The most popular pairing — hamburger and tater tots — still results in about 26 percent waste on average, according to the study.

    The notion that food pairings can significantly affect the attractiveness of certain foods isn't new. Traci Mann, who teaches psychology at the University of Minnesota and has been studying eating habits, self-control and dieting for more than 20 years, believes that it can, in fact, be crucial. One of the simplest ways to eat better is to make it easier to eat better. That involves a strategy Mann calls "get alone with a vegetable," which is similar in that it shows how important context can be. She described the strategy earlier this year:

    Normally, vegetables will lose the competition that they're in — the competition with all the other delicious food on your plate. Vegetables might not lose that battle for everyone, but they do for most of us.

    This strategy puts vegetables in a competition they can win, by pitting vegetables against no food at all. To do that, you just eat your vegetable first, before any of the other food is there. Eat them before other food is on your plate, or even at your table. And that way, you get them when you're hungriest and unable to pick something else instead.

    She also noted that it's been effective with kids:

    We've actually tested this in a lot of ways. And it works unbelievably well. We tested it with kids in school cafeterias, where it more than quadrupled the amount of vegetables eaten.

    It's just about making it a little harder to make the wrong choices, and a little easier to make the right ones.

    Of course, persuading schools to serve vegetables by themselves could be too tall a task. Asking them never to serve foods kids adore might be, too. But understanding how something as simple as what a vegetable is served with can have a sizable impact on whether a child eats it is a pretty useful thing. At school, and at home.

    Source: Washington Post

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  • Senate Agriculture Bill Markup Postponed

    Posted by Tim Howington on 9/16/2015

    The U.S. Senate Agriculture committee was scheduled to mark up a replacement for the soon to expire Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 this Thursday, September 17 but the markup has been postponed. The chairman of the committee, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) reports that they are still working with ranking committee member Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to come up with bi-partisan legislation.

    “I am continuing negotiations with Ranking Member Stabenow to get a bipartisan, budget-neutral agreement to move forward with child nutrition reauthorization. We're nearly at the finish line,” Roberts said in a statement Monday.

    We will continue to monitor progress on the bill and provide updates to you as they are available.

    In the meantime, you can help ensure Congress passes a strong 2015 Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill by sending a letter to your representatives asking them to sponsor this key child nutrition bill. Please share this information with your friends and this neighbors so they can participate, too!

    Source: School Nutrition Association

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Last Modified on February 22, 2018