New Healthy School Meal Recipes and Technical Assistance Available Free to Any School Through Alliance's Healthy Schools Program
NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In celebration of September's National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, television personality, author and founder of the Yum-o! organization, Rachael Ray, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation have collaborated to create healthy school food recipes that will be available for free to every school in the U.S., reaching more than 30 million students. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a non-profit organization founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation working to combat childhood obesity.
By working together, the Alliance and Yum-o! have developed a series of scratch cooking recipes appropriate for school settings that are nutritious, delicious and meet the taste expectations of today's students. Parents and school staff can access Rachael Ray's Yum-o! school meal recipes by visiting the Alliance's website at www.healthiergeneration.org.
"Getting students excited about the food they eat in school and giving them access to flavorful choices made with more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains is so important when it comes to teaching them about making healthy food choices," says Ray. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and provide schools nationwide with nutritious recipes that kids will enjoy eating."
Ray first began to provide recipes to schools in a partnership with the New York City Department of Education in 2009. The success of that program led to Ray's desire to bring her healthy recipes to schools across the United States. The collaboration with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a natural fit, as the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program is one of the largest school-based childhood obesity programs in the country, supporting more than 12,000 schools in their efforts to create healthier places for students to learn and staff to work.
The school-friendly recipes were piloted in nine school districts throughout the U.S., including California, Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, Indiana, and Texas. Recipes were evaluated based on food service staff and student feedback.
"We are always looking for fun and innovative ways to introduce healthier options to students," says Sal Valenza, food service director at West New York, N.J. who piloted the recipes with his students. "The recipes Rachael Ray, Yum-o! and the Alliance created not only got rave reviews from the students, but they are created in a way that is easy and affordable to make from a school food service perspective."
The eight new recipes meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's school nutrition guidelines. The science-based guidelines, which meet or exceed USDA guidelines, focus on increased lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat and fat-free dairy in addition to reduced total fat, saturated fat and sodium levels. Recipes available to school food service professionals include:
- Southwestern Turkey Cobb Salad: Uses USDA turkey roasts and Rachael's special Yum-o! Southwest Ranch Sauce to create a salad with a taste as big as Texas.
- Silly Chili con Fusilli: Five-alarm fun served over fusilli pasta including a "fixin' bar" that gives students a chance to customize their own meal.
- Orange You Glad its Glazed Chicken and Noodles: Add some zing to USDA chicken with this new "a-peeling" Orange Glazed Chicken. Serve with chopsticks for added fun.
Additional recipes include: Yakitori Chicken Noodle Bowls, Cheesy Mac & Trees, BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes, Mexi-Mac and Cheese, and Turkey Tacos. In addition to providing the recipes, shopping lists and nutritional information for each recipe, the Alliance also provides best practices for preparing, introducing and serving these recipes to students. Additionally, Yum-o! has created "at-home" versions of these recipes, which will be available on the www.yum-o.org website, so kids and their families can recreate the meals in their own kitchen.
In an effort to educate school food service professionals about the availability of these recipes and a multitude of other free tools and resources for healthier school meals, the Alliance is announcing a new collaboration with the School Nutrition Association (SNA). The Alliance and SNA will work throughout the coming year to inform, educate and activate school food service professionals across the country through promotional campaigns, webinars, speaking engagements, and educational materials – all with a goal of increasing the availability of healthier options to students in every school in the country.
"School nutrition professionals are constantly working to offer healthier choices to students, but we will always welcome a helping hand!" says Helen Phillips, SNS, president of the School Nutrition Association and Senior Director of School Nutrition for the Norfolk Public Schools (VA). "The programs and materials created by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, including these wonderful recipes from Rachael Ray, are great tools for SNA members working to improve school menus. We are excited to work with the Alliance on new national initiatives to support school food service professionals."
"Through the development of healthy and nutritious recipes specifically created to be easy to prepare in school cafeterias, the Alliance is broadening its efforts to increase the availability of healthy school meals across the country," said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "Working with passionate allies like Rachael, Yum-o! and the School Nutrition Association is critical to the success of our efforts. Together, we are changing the landscape of school food and ensuring that millions of students have the opportunity to live long, healthy lives."
The launch of these recipes is just one solution the Alliance has developed to increase access to healthier school foods. Earlier this year, the Alliance announced ground-breaking industry agreements with food manufacturers, group purchasing organizations and technology companies to develop, market and competitively price products that will lead to healthier school meal options; streamline the ordering process; and make identifying healthy options easier.
The effort to increase the availability of healthier school meals follows the success of similar industry agreements brokered by the Alliance. Voluntary agreements with the snack food and beverage industries initiated in 2006 have resulted in healthier choices available to students in schools across the country—including an 88 percent decrease in total beverage calories shipped to schools between 2004 and the 2009 school year.
As a result of these school meal agreements, more than 30 million students across the country will have access to healthier school meals – including at least 14 million students who currently qualify for free and reduced lunches.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to address one of the nation's leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids to make healthy lifestyle choices. Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, the Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child's health: homes, schools, doctor's offices and communities. To learn more about the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org.
About Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray is best known as the host of the hit syndicated Emmy Award winning daytime television show "Rachael Ray" produced by CBS Television Distribution in association with Harpo Productions, Scripps Networks and Watch Entertainment. Rachael's warmth, energy, and boundless curiosity also reaches scores of fans through her popular Food Network shows, bestselling cookbooks, her own line of cookware created by Meyer, knives by Furitechnics, signature food ingredients by Colavita and lifestyle magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray. In 2007, Rachael launched the Yum-o! organization, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. In 2008 she partnered with Ainsworth Pet Nutrition to create a line of pet food of which all her proceeds are donated to organizations that help animals in need. For more information, visit www.rachaelray.com.
About the Yum-o! Organization
Yum-o!® is Rachael Ray's nonprofit organization that empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking by teaching families to cook, feeding hungry kids and funding cooking education and scholarships. By providing the tools to create easy, affordable and delicious meals, Yum-o! is changing the way America eats. For more information about the Yum-o! organization, please visit www.yum-o.org.
About School Nutrition Association
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, nonprofit professional organization representing more than 50,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. To find out more about today's school meals, visit www.TrayTalk.org.
SOURCE Alliance for a Healthier Generation