Farms and Schools: Healthy Partnerships
Did you know that many schools and farms are teaming up to improve the food at schools? They are getting food grown by local farmers onto school lunch trays. Kids in many schools see winter squash, sweet corn, melons, potatoes, and apples from local farmers. Locally grown food tastes great and is fresher because it's produced nearby.
Over 1,350 Minnesota schools, representing more than 600,000 students, participate in farm to school programs. Linking schools with local farms means healthy meals in school cafeterias. It means learning lifelong healthy habits while supporting local farmers. Do you know where YOUR school lunch comes from?
Eat Well, Be Well!
What do you know about better food choices? What does it mean to eat healthier? MyPlate is a great reminder. It's a healthy eating guide from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). MyPlate shows how to divide your plate for a healthy meal. It shows the proportions and also details the food groups of vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, and dairy.
A look at MyPlate reminds us to:
- Eat smaller portions.
- Eat mostly vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Choose from a big variety of proteins.
- Include calcium-rich foods.
MyPlate reminds us to avoid foods that are high in sodium or empty calories. Empty calories have the same energy as other calories, but none of the vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients you need. Without those nutrients, you will not grow up as healthily or have as much energy as if you get plenty of nutrients. Examples of foods with empty calories are sugary drinks; sweets like cookies, ice cream, and candy; white bread and white rice.
Farm to School Fun!
Food served in schools — urban, suburban, and rural — is constantly changing due to farm to school programs.
- Students on the White Earth Indian Reservation enjoy locally grown, traditional foods such as wild rice, hominy, and squash.
- Students at Lewiston-Altura Elementary School try new locally grown foods each week during Taste-Test Tuesdays. High school students in this district can enjoy burgers made from bison raised near Winona.
- All students in the Hopkins School District are enjoying pasta sauce made from local tomatoes throughout the entire school year.