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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Blog
Updated: 6 hours 14 min ago

Reach Your Goals: Start with a Healthy Breakfast

Thu, 08/29/2013 - 7:12pm
At a very early age, I learned about the value of healthy eating. By the time I was 11 years old and training daily as a gymnast, I knew that eating right would help me achieve my goals. The goals I had for health, athletics, and academic performance were all tied to eating nutritious foods, [...]

Celebrate Labor Day with a MyPlate Picnic

Thu, 08/29/2013 - 1:10pm
A picnic is an easy and relaxing holiday activity. USDA’s MyPlate resources can help take the “labor” out of your Labor Day picnic. You can enjoy an easy, healthy meal by following this simple MyPlate formula: 5 food groups + family and friends = fun! When planning your picnic, be sure to include more healthful [...]

The Track & Field Fuel-Up Challenge! Summer Fun that Helps Kids Learn

Wed, 08/28/2013 - 7:06pm
It’s summer time! And kids’ thoughts naturally turn to ways to have fun and enjoy themselves! Moms, on the other hand, want kids to continue to learn and develop their skills while they enjoy the lazy days of summer.  The Track & Field Fuel-Up Challenge is an online game that meets the needs of moms [...]

Schools Around the Country Successfully Implementing New Meal Standards

Wed, 08/28/2013 - 1:01am
Today a news report claimed that schools across the country are dropping out of the National School Lunch Program because the standards are too difficult to implement. The truth is that the vast majority of schools across the country are meeting the updated meal standards successfully, which is so important to help all our Nations [...]

Secretary’s Column: Continuing the Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Fri, 08/23/2013 - 12:34pm
Ensuring the health and well-being of our nation’s children is a top priority for President Obama, and for all of us at USDA. We have focused in recent years on expanding access, affordability and availability of healthy foods for families and children. Recently, we learned of some promising new results in the fight against obesity. [...]

Colorado Partners Unite to Fight Summer Hunger

Mon, 08/19/2013 - 11:56am
Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado, is known for its diversity of businesses and residents.  It is home to establishments ranging from upscale restaurants to motels housing low-income and homeless families. However, the upscale scene doesn’t tell the whole story. Within a two-mile stretch of Colfax, there are an estimated 15,000 children who qualify for free [...]

Quinoa: a Plant with a Lot of Potential

Fri, 08/16/2013 - 2:34pm
In February of this year, the United National declared 2013 the International Year of the Quinoa. Yet, I’m sure not many people have even heard of quinoa, let alone know about its nutritional qualities. Originating from Bolivia, Chile and Peru around 5,000 years ago, quinoa is a grain that is growing in popularity across the [...]

Back to Healthy School Meals: USDA Congratulates Six States for Nearly 100% of Schools Meeting New Meal Standards

Fri, 08/16/2013 - 2:34pm
As we continue to combat childhood obesity in America, I am proud to say that this Back to School season our school cafeterias are at the heart of offering great nutrition for our kids. Students and schools are embracing the healthier lunches offered through the National School Lunch Program that, together with the healthier breakfasts [...]

What Does It Cost to Raise a Child?

Wed, 08/14/2013 - 8:15pm
How much will that little bundle of joy cost? According to USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child report, the answer for a child born in 2012 is $241,080 for food, shelter and other necessities over the next 17 years, which translates to about $301,970 when adjusted for inflation! Speaking as a father and a grandfather, [...]

Ready, Set, Learn: USDA Lessons for Our Nation’s Next Generation

Wed, 08/14/2013 - 2:13pm
It’s that time of year! Back to school season is upon us and agencies across the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to ensure a stronger and healthier future for our nation’s next generation of leaders. That means providing a happy and healthy learning environment for our kids, and helping them grow up with [...]

Next Year at School: New Standards Point to Healthier Snacks and Other Competitive Foods

Tue, 08/13/2013 - 8:07pm
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, “competitive foods” in schools will be subject to new nutritional standards. Competitive foods include à la carte cafeteria [...]

MyPlate Goes To College

Mon, 08/12/2013 - 7:55pm
The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion launched a new initiative this past March, MyPlate On Campus, to help spread healthy eating messages to young adults during their college years.  MyPlate On Campus is a unique program that encourages students to improve their own eating and physical activity habits as well as promote healthy [...]

“USDA Tender” – A Cooperative Effort with the U.S. Beef Industry

Mon, 08/12/2013 - 1:51pm
Tenderness is one of the most significant factors affecting the overall consumer acceptance of beef cuts.  Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beef Quality Grading program is a useful tool in predicting overall consumer acceptance of beef, other factors besides those assessed by the USDA Quality Grading System affect beef tenderness.  In other words, [...]

Back to School with MyPlate Kids’ Place

Mon, 08/12/2013 - 1:51pm
Back-to-school is an exciting time of year that provides new opportunities for teaching and learning.  The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion offers great nutrition resources for young children, parents, and educators for this upcoming school year. now features MyPlate Kids’ Place, a new section of the website designed for children between the [...]

Cultural Sustainability through Farmers Markets

Fri, 08/09/2013 - 4:32pm
In agriculture, we talk a lot about sustainability.  As a method of growing crops, caring for ecosystems like forests or wetlands, or even the economic sustainability of businesses—we look at this word from all angles.  But there’s another component to consider: cultural sustainability. As a nation of immigrants, we have many rich and complex influences [...]

Farmers in Alabama Reach More Customers with Electronic Benefit Transfer

Fri, 08/09/2013 - 4:32pm
What Agriculture Under Secretary Concannon calls a win-win situation, is taking root in rural Alabama with help from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and state officials.  Local farmers’ markets are getting authorized to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards which will allow them to expand their customer base and offer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) [...]

Secretary’s Column: Celebrating America’s Farmers Markets

Fri, 08/09/2013 - 4:32pm
Over the first week of August, local markets across the country celebrated National Farmers Market Week. Farmers markets are an important part of America’s diverse agriculture sector, providing unique benefits to communities across our nation. They give Americans a chance to learn about agriculture by meeting some of the people who grow and raise our [...]

SNAP Combats Food Insecurity, Improves Long-Term Health Outlook for Low-Income People

Thu, 08/08/2013 - 4:26pm
USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is America’s first line of defense against hunger and new research released today makes it clear that SNAP improves food security, particularly among low-income children. The study, funded by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and conducted by researchers at Mathematica Policy Research, found that participating in SNAP for about [...]

Farmers Markets: Teaching Kids Where Food Comes From

Thu, 08/08/2013 - 10:23am
“We become what we repeatedly do.” In his Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens Sean Covey used these words to help young students preparing to attend college and join the workforce, but they also apply to how children learn to eat healthy. Through innovative programs like the Power of Produce (POP) Club, farmers markets across [...]

Turning the Tide on Early Childhood Obesity

Wed, 08/07/2013 - 4:17pm
Here at USDA, we’re on a mission to help all of our nation’s children have the best possible chance at a healthy life.  So, we’re very encouraged by some recent news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):  the rate of obesity among low-income pre-school children appears to be declining for the first [...]