Congressman Tim Ryan Announces $195,616 to Support Healthier Foods in Ohio Schools
Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan announces today $195,616 in federal funding to the Ohio Department of Education/Office for Child Nutrition (ODE/OCN) to collaborate with statewide partners to provide technical assistance and training to schools seeking recognition under the Healthier US School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms initiative through their Buckeye Healthy Schools Workshop. ODE/OCN will also award sub-grants to schools to develop recipes for the Buckeye Healthy Schools Recipe Challenge.
“For the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Increasing fresh and local food in our schools and training our school food service professionals to serve healthy, appealing meals to our students is crucial for addressing our nation’s obesity and diabetes epidemics, especially in children. Good eating habits start at a young age and it is our job to ensure that our young people know how to keep themselves healthy,” said Congressman Ryan.
“We are pleased that Ohio is one of 19 states to receive a fiscal year 2015 USDA Team Nutrition training grant. This grant is an exciting opportunity to improve the nutrition and health of Ohio’s school-age children and children in child care settings. Through this grant, the Ohio Department of Education will provide school food service professionals with vital training and resources needed to serve students healthy and appealing meals. It will also enhance the nutrition expertise of child care providers, so they can help our youngest children develop healthy eating habits,” said Tim English, Regional Administrator for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.
In addition, ODE/OCN will develop a Healthy Cuisine for Child Care Culinary Lab to train eight child care trainers and six chefs. These trainers and chefs will then provide 21 regional hands-on labs for child care providers.
This funding was made available through a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that awarded $8 million in grants to help school nutrition professionals better prepare healthy meals for their students. Approximately $2.6 million dollars in grants will support the implementation of new national professional standards for all school nutrition employees who manage and operate the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, and $5.6 million will go to help states expand and enhance food service training programs and provide nutrition education in school, child care, and summer meal settings.
Congressman Ryan is dedicated to providing children with healthier food options at schools. In the 114th Congress, he introduced the Salad Bar in Schools Expansion Act (HR 2627). This legislation encourages the USDA to help schools set up a salad bar program, and directs the Secretary to establish and implement a plan to promote the use of salad bars in schools. Salad bars have proven to be one of easiest ways for school food authorities to meet school lunch nutrition standards and allow children to make their own choice regarding their daily meals. This legislation has been endorsed by the United Fresh Produce Association, Coalition for Healthy School Food, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the American Heart Association, The Ohio State University, American Diabetes Association, Ohio Produce Growers and Marketing Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Real Food for Kids, U.S. Apple Association, National Potato Council, and the National Watermelon Association.