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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Blog
Updated: 6 hours 16 min ago

USDA, Partners Seek Creative Ways to Boost Flavor with Less Sodium for our Students

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 1:00pm
Sodium, the major nutrient found in salt, is essential to maintain blood volume, regulate water balance in cells, and aid nerve function.  According to the American Heart Association, however, too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. Unfortunately, 90 percent of children [...]

Adding a Helping of Books to Nutritious Summer Meals

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 9:00pm
The following guest blog was submitted by Kyle Zimmer, CEO of First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides access to free and low-cost books to children in need. Many USDA summer meals sites provide not only healthy meals and snacks, but also offer physical activity and enrichment activities to keep children and teens engaged [...]

USDA Agencies, Suppliers and Vendors Taking Steps to Improve USDA Foods Purchase Process

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 1:00pm
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) commodity purchases play an important role in supporting American agriculture.  One commodity purchasing effort – the USDA Foods Program – purchases about 2 billion pounds of nutritious, domestically produced foods each year and supplies this food to families, schools, food banks, and communities nationwide, also serving as a key [...]

New Training Tracker Tool Now Available to School Nutrition Professionals

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 1:00pm
As a former school nutrition director, I can tell you that school nutrition professionals are dedicated to serving nutritious meals to their students and committed to making the new meal patterns work.  Established by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the new standards require schools to prepare healthier meals for the nearly 31 million [...]

Assisting the Organic Community through Cost Share Programs

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 9:00pm
Consumers are increasingly looking for organic products when they visit the supermarket.  Last year, organic products reached a record number of sales, accounting for over $39 billion in U.S. retail sales.  To meet consumer demand, the industry needs more organic operations to produce everything from organic milk to organic granola bars.  Thanks to support from [...]

Photo-Worthy Meals

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 1:00pm
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the digital age we have ample opportunity to document and broadcast every moment, meeting and meal. We have all seen those unappetizing photos of food served at school that quickly go viral. A lonesome whole wheat bun atop a sad fish fillet; a mysterious-looking [...]

Walk, Run, Ride to the First USDA Farmers Market at Night

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 1:00pm
For 20 years, my agency, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), has managed the USDA Farmers Market.  It’s quite a milestone, and I’m thrilled to celebrate it this week by hosting the first night farmers market in Washington, DC!  There will be live music, food trucks, and an array of farmers, growers, and vendors offering cured [...]

Lessons Learned from a Food Service Director: Kids Like Healthy Foods

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 1:00pm
The following guest blog is part of our Cafeteria Stories series, highlighting the efforts of hard working school nutrition professionals who are dedicated to making the healthy choice the easy choice at schools across the country.  We thank them for sharing their stories! By Sharon Foley, Food Service Director, Whitley County School District, Kentucky During the more [...]

USDA Celebrates Mothers, Farmers, and Industry Leaders

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 1:00pm
In honor of Mother’s Day, USDA thanks the nearly 100 wonderful women growers and handlers for dedicating their time and service to their respective industries through our federal fruit and vegetable marketing order committees and boards.  We spoke to a few about being a farmer, mother, and marketing order industry leader. Kelly McKnight, of the [...]

Fruits and Veggies Now Chock Full of Marketing Power

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 9:00pm
At CNPP, we are passionate about reaching Americans with science-based messages that encourage healthy plates because we know that far too many Americans are not eating enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.  MyPlate was designed to serve as a strong visual cue to remind Americans to make healthier food and beverage [...]

Direct Certification Improves Low-Income Children’s Access to Healthy School Meals, Boosts Program Efficiency

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 1:00pm
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is committed to helping America’s children get the nutritious food they need to learn and grow.  Direct certification for school meals is one important strategy to make that possible for the low-income children.  This process links student enrollment records to states’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance [...]

Growing with the Times, Expanded USDA Farmers Market Opens for 20th Season

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 9:00pm
This morning, Secretary Tom Vilsack and I kicked off the 20th season of the USDA Farmers Market.  It was quite a celebration, complete with balloons, ribbon cutting and bell ringing!  The market underwent a major redesign and expansion this year to make room for twice as many vendors as we’ve had in the past.  Featuring [...]

Chef Leverages USDA Team Nutrition Grant to Develop Healthy Menus for Students

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 1:00pm
The following guest blog highlights the important work of Chef Brenda Thompson, RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist).  Thanks to a USDA Team Nutrition grant, she developed recipes for the Chef Designed School Lunch cookbook.  Chef Brenda is currently working with the Idaho State Department on the final stages of her second book, Chef Designed School Breakfast, [...]

Lights, Camera, Action! MyPlate Video Search

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 1:00pm
As registered dietitian nutritionists, we love to see MyPlate in action!  MyPlate was created as a familiar mealtime symbol that helps people learn about choosing a variety of healthy foods within all the food groups.  It is a foundation which can be built upon to reach any audience where they are and in ways most [...]

A Sweet Camp for Native Youth

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 1:00pm
Many children look forward to gathering pumpkins in the fall. For some Native American children, another well-loved tradition is gathering maple syrup in early spring.  USDA’s National Institute of Food and Nutrition (NIFA) provides grants to support a unique camp where reservation youth can experience their cultural traditions while learning plant science. Maple syrup is [...]

USDA Continues to Expand Local and Regional Market Data

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 9:00pm
Are you in the market for data covering locally and regionally produced agricultural products?  You are not alone.  Consumer demand for local and regional food products continues to soar, with retail sales at an estimated $6.1 billion in 2012.  Thanks to support from the 2014 Farm Bill, USDA Market News created a series of market [...]

Grant it, Food Hubs Mean More Local Food for You

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 9:00pm
Spring is upon us and many local farmers markets are opening with displays of brilliant and vibrant colors. The fresh air has more people talking about and buying local foods. In fact, data from the USDA Economic Research Service suggests that farmers across the country sold an estimated $6.1 billion in locally marketed foods in [...]

How MyPlate Inspired One California Student to Make a Difference on her College Campus

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 1:00pm
We love hearing success stories from our MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors! Over 3,450 students, representing all 50 states, have signed on to take part in the MyPlate On Campus initiative, USDA’s effort to promote healthy eating on college campuses nationwide through peer-to-peer education. Read below about how one group of passionate students is helping to spread the [...]

Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ State Dinner

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 1:00pm
Calling all budding chefs! Do you like to cook and make healthy food for your friends and family? If so, you might be able to show off your skills and creativity to the First Lady of the United States and your peers from across the country. Learn more about how you can represent your state [...]

EFNEP: Delivering Nutrition Education to Limited-Resource Families

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 1:00pm
Educators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories recently met in Arlington, Virginia to discuss local implementation of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), one of the nation’s largest nutrition education programs. Through nutrition education, EFNEP helps limited-resource families and children gain the knowledge and skills to change [...]

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