Dear Katie Couric,
My friends and I would like to invite you to lunch in some very trendy, very healthy – but clearly undiscovered – dining rooms around the country. We heard your recent Good Morning America comments that “50% of school districts serve junk food for lunch, fast food for lunch. Kids are getting terrible choices.” We are delighted to tell you that nothing could be farther from the truth.
The real news about school lunch is that 30+ million students enjoy amazing choices every day. Thanks to the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, dedicated school nutrition professionals and thousands of health, nutrition and community partners, kids now have access to a truly amazing variety of:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, sometimes organic, often local or even ‘hyper-local’ – straight from school garden
- Whole grains, including quinoa, brown rice and other gluten-free options, as well as freshly baked whole wheat rolls and whole grain pizza crusts
- Lean proteins like hummus, black bean salad and grilled tofu, boat-to-school salmon in Alaska and Montana beef for Montana schools
- Delicious dairy products, such as Greek yogurt parfaits, berry smoothies and artisan cheeses, in addition to low-fat/fat-free milk at every meal
But, please don’t take our word for it. Come see the amazing variety and taste the deliciousness that is school lunch in America today. We’re so sorry that the Fed Up researchers did not dig deeper into the revolution in schools meals (breakfast, lunch, snacks and suppers) growing in thousands of districts.
Here are a few tasty tidbits showing how well fed our children are in schools today:
- USDA Farm to School Census: In USDA’s most recent survey (SY 2011-12) schools invested $354,599,266 in local economies by purchasing local foods.
- National Farm to School Network: More than 1,000 local food champions recently met in Austin to celebrate and ‘power up’ for expanding programs.
- USDA HealthierUS School Challenge: 6,730 schools in 49 states and DC have met rigorous nutrition and physical activity criteria for these awards.
- Food Corps: This nationwide team of 140 passionate service members and fellows in 108 sites connects kids to real food to help them grow up healthy.
- Chefs Move to Schools: Hundreds of chefs now work in school programs, as directors, leaders and regular volunteers to train staff and energize kids.
- Salad Bars Move to Schools: 1.7+ million students are eating up produce packed into 3,400+ new salad bars donated to schools from coast to coast.
- CIA Healthy Kids: The nation’s top chefs offer culinary resources to schools so they can continue serving tasty, appealing, nutritious food to children.
- Vermont FEED: This is one example of regional efforts with a nationwide reach to provide nutrition education and culinary training to schools.
Many of us have admired your work for years – and now we would like to share ours with you! Lunch is on us – we just want you to see, and more importantly taste, the amazing changes being served up in America’s school kitchens and dining areas.
You name the date and location – and we will be there to show you how hard School Nutrition Association members work to ensure that children are well nourished and ready to learn!
Dayle Hayes, MS, RD
Nutrition for the Future, Inc.
Billings, MT 59102
FACEBOOK: School Meals That Rock TWITTER: @SchoolMealsRock
Dayle, This is amazing. Well done! I’m so tired of school meals being bashed…
Thanks … please feel free to share! Dayle
Thank you — it really bothers me that people really don’t have a clue about school nutrition programs!
Thanks, they need to show all the great food being served everywhere.
Thanks for sharing … and kudos for your work!
Thank You ! Thank You ! Thank You ! We ALL need to step up to the plate and start
tooting our own horn! We’re an amazing group!
Thank you for taking time to write. Dayle
Thank you Dayle!
Thank you Dayle! We are doing great things in Pinellas County, Fl too! Katie would be welcome to visit. Lynn Heist, Asst. Director, SFS.
I know you are Lynn!!
Bravo Dayle! I’m up in Canada, but I often reference your amazing foodservice success stories in my work. There’s no doubt that the public needs to be aware of the problems with processed food. However, there are many of us out there tackling the problem on the other end – by engaging kids with fresh, vibrant, real food! We need to raise a generation of kids that accept, appreciate and eventually demand real food over processed!
Sorry – something happened and my comment posted from the wrong identity! This is me!
Thank you Janet for your kind words … I love your comment! Dayle
I’d love to invite Ms. Couric to Oyster River Schools to show her how fine we dine! Thanks for telling it like it is Dayle, as always, we can count on your support!
I will certainly include Oyster River when we get over to NH!! Your schools would be AWESOME places to visit. Dayle
Thank you Dayle from Gainesville City Schools! (GA)
Thank YOU Penny!!
Well said……Thanks Dayle
Thanks Debbi … I will invited her to your districts when we get to NY!! Dayle
Excellent commentary Dale. Kudos to you for speaking up about the incredible lack of facts depicted in the biased and sensationalized movie, Fed Up. I thought Couric was a better journalist!
Thanks Lisa for your kind comments! Dayle
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Thank you Dayle for coming to Miton, Vermont to speak to us!!!! You are awesome!
Thanks Beth … I had an awesome time in Milton! Dayle