The Turnip the Beet Award recognizes outstanding summer meal program sponsors across the nation who work hard to offer high quality meals to children that are appetizing, appealing, and nutritious during the summer months.
Summer meals are critical in the lives of millions of our nation’s youth, whose risk for food insecurity increases during the summer months when they no longer have access to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program. Summer meal programs, including the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) within the NSLP, present the opportunity to help alleviate summertime food insecurity and positively impact children’s growth and development by offering nutritious meals and encouraging children to develop healthy habits at a young age. High quality summer meals provide daily energy, and help make sure children are healthy and ready to learn when they return to school in the fall. The Turnip the Beet Award was created to showcase sponsors who are going above and beyond to ensure that children in their care are receiving high-quality meals that are both nutritious and appetizing.
FNS recognized 84 summer meal sponsors with Turnip the Beet awards for excellence in program year 2021: 14 sponsors qualified for a gold award; 54 qualified for a silver award; and 16 qualified for a bronze award. Congratulations to all awardees and thanks to everyone working to ensure both food and nutrition security for our nation's children during the summer months. Information on awards for program year 2022 is linked below.
- 2021 Turnip the Beet Award Winners
- Printable one-page overview on Turnip the Beet
- Nomination form for program year 2022
- State agency and FNS regional office checklist (to accompany nomination forms)
Resources for Serving High Quality Meals
FNS has an abundance of resources available to sponsors to help make summer meals more appetizing, appealing, and nutritious:
- The Nutrition Guide for Sponsors includes best practices and tips for serving high quality meals and incorporating local foods, as well as sample cycle menus.
- The Team Nutrition Resource Library has free nutrition education materials to help reinforce and complement the nutrition messages taught by serving healthful foods.
- The Farm to Summer Factsheet describes how to “bring the farm” to summer sites.
- The Summer Meals Toolkit offers healthy menu planning ideas and tips for serving meals family style.