Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

Food is only nutrition if we eat it

Did you know? More than 220,000 Idahoans, including more than 72,000 children, are food insecure, meaning they live at risk of hunger. This equates to 1 in 8 Idahoans (Idaho Foodbank 2018).

Every child has promise. Regardless of socioeconomic status, religion or race, every child has the ability to contribute something valuable to our world.

School meals nourish America’s children by providing the nutrients they need for growth and development — 14 million students eat school breakfast and 30 million students eat school lunch EVERYDAY! With 51 million students in 100,000 schools nationwide, we still have work to do closing the gap in school meal participation.

Nutrition standards for school meals are science-based. In 1994, Congress required that nutrition standards for school meals reflect the most recent edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences recommended standards for several child nutrition programs. In broad terms, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adopted most of the IOM’s recommendations as they implemented the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. As a result, federal nutrition standards were updated to include more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains and less saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and calories.

Healthy students are better students. Research shows that students who eat breakfast may have improved concentration, attention span and memory, and score 17.5 percent higher on standardized test scores. A hungry child is as urgent a problem for learning as a poorly nourished, physically inactive one.

“We can’t make kids smarter, but with improved nutrition and physical activity, we can put a better student in the chair,”  said Robert Murray, MD, Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University.

Milk’s nutrition helps provide children with the fuel they need to achieve their full potential. Milk is a nutrient powerhouse providing nine essential nutrients, including eight grams of high-quality protein per serving – and is the top food source of three of the nutrients most likely to be missing from kids’ diets: calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Fuel your child(ren) with the three recommended servings every day.

Together we continue to build a healthy, high-achieving generation of youth!

Written by Jaclyn St. John, a registered Dietitian with Dairy West. She’s also a mom and lover of all things family, food, fitness and fun! If you have questions or comments, please contact her at [email protected]


Jaclyn St. John

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday