USDA's Team Nutrition is an integrated, behavior based, comprehensive plan for promoting the nutritional health of the Nation's children. This plan involves schools, parents, and the community in efforts to continuously improve school meals, and to promote the health and education of 50 million school children in more than 96,000 schools nationwide.
Schools are the key focal point for Team Nutrition. They are invited to enroll as "Team Nutrition Schools," affirming their commitment to take the lead in making nutritional changes, conducting nutrition education activities and events, and using innovative materials from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Emphasis is placed on working through state agencies to recruit Team Nutrition Schools as well as develop training support systems necessary for local implementation.
How Does It Work?
Training and Technical Assistance for Healthy School Meals
The focus of the training and technical assistance is on:
- Planning and preparing healthy meals that appeal to ethnic and cultural taste preferences in all Child Nutrition Programs;
- Linking meals programs to other educational activities, such as learning in the classroom and developmental progress in child care;
- Providing nutrition expertise and awareness to the school or child care community; and
- Using sound business practices to assure the continued availability of healthy meals and the financial viability and accountability of school meal programs.
Through fun, interactive nutrition education children are encouraged to:
- Eat a variety of foods
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Eat lower fat foods more often
- Get your calcium-rich foods
- Be physically active
School and Community Support
School and community support for healthy eating and physical activity focuses on three behavior outcomes for school and community leaders:
- Adopting and implementing school policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity;
- Providing school resources adequate to achieve success; and
- Fostering school and community environments that support healthy eating and physical activity.
Broad support is needed to provide nutritious meals, nutrition education, and healthy school and community environments. Adults can provide this support and positive messages in a variety of ways, through their actions and decisions.
Partners and Supporters
A network of public and private organizations is used to promote Team Nutrition, develop and disseminate materials, leverage resources, expand the reach of messages, and build a broad base of support. The network includes private sector companies, as well as nonprofit and advocacy organizations including nutrition, health, education, entertainment, and industry groups.