May/June 2016 Fresh Focus

Welcome to the May edition of Fresh Focus. This month, we're asking people to take action to order materials to promote their local summer meals program. We've also got some other updates from an eventful past few months in the worlds of child nutrition research and policy. 

Action of the Month: Order Free SFSP Materials

Would you like to be part of the solution to child hunger during the summer months in Massachusetts? An incredibly easy, free, and time-efficient way is to order free posters, tear-off pads, and brochures from CNOP’s online “store” (we use that term loosely since all materials are available at no cost), and post them in your school or community. 

If you find yourself wishing there was a way to include customized information about the locations, meal times, and run dates of the sites in your area, you’re in luck! CNOP has a new design portal that allows users to design their own outreach flyer based off a stylish template. It’s takes only marginally longer than ordering materials from the store and allows users to upload their own pictures, logo, and text. Please tell us if you need any help ordering materials or using the design portal, or if you have suggestions about either resource.

New Study Finds No Link Between "Double Breakfasts" and Weight Gain

Efforts to implement Breakfast in the Classroom are sometimes dogged by the specter of “double breakfasts”, or the fear that kids may be eating breakfast at home and at school each morning. In a nation already struggling with child obesity, this may seem like the last thing we need. But a recent study from Pediatric Obesity found no correlation between double breakfasts and weight gain. Instead, children who ate two breakfasts were no more likely to be overweight than their classmates who regularly ate one. In fact, they were significantly less likely to gain weight than those who frequently skipped the morning meal. As outlined in a blog post on NPR , researchers’ best guess at the cause of this finding is that students who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat later in the day.

Recipe of the Month: Melting Pot Soup

For May’s recipe of the month, we’re highlighting the 2015 Lunchtime Challenge Kids “State Dinner” Cookbook. This resource began as a contest to select the most delicious kid-created recipe from all fifty states. The dishes were judged by a panel including First Lady Obama, and their creators feasted in style at a “State Dinner” at the White House. The winning recipes were also compiled into the cookbook downloadable from USDA’s “What’s Cooking” page. Massachusetts’ entry, “Melting Pot Soup”, was authored by Aster Toole. Remember to make these recipes along with family and friends; cooking together helps instill a lifetime of healthy eating habits. 

Child Nutrition Re-Authorization Update

The House Education and Workforce Committee recently released its version of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill (CNR), which is taking strong heat from anti-hunger, nutrition and public health groups. The reasons for the backlash include increased verification requirements for school meal applications, limitations on school districts’ ability to conduct outreach for free and reduced-price meals, and a new restriction that changes the identified student threshold for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) from 40% to 60% of enrollment. According to Politico, this would force “schools with between 65 and 96% of their students qualifying for nutrition assistance” to drop CEP. This in turn means that 3.4 million students currently benefitting from CEP in 7,022 schools would lose this benefit, according to Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The bill also delays implementation of sodium and whole-grain requirements and other health-oriented provisions of 2010’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Lastly, in the eyes of activists it fails to adequately address shortcomings of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). 

Portions of this bill also impact the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). To learn more about the new CNR and the ways it could shake up your school cafeteria, visit FRAC.