Healthy eating habits are essential for children's growth and development, but unfortunately, not all schools have the resources to provide nutritious meals to their students. To address this issue, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering Healthy Meals Incentives Grants for small (enrollment of less than or equal to 5,000 students) and rural (majority of students enrolled defined by a locality code of 41, 42, or 43 according to the National Center for Education Statistics) school food authorities.
In this blog post, we'll discuss why schools should apply for these grants, what they will receive and why a subscription to NutriStudents K-12 is a great option for small and rural districts looking to improve their school foodservice program.
Why Schools Should Apply for Healthy Meals Incentives Grants
The Healthy Meals Incentives Grants are designed to help small and rural schools meet the nutrition standards set by the USDA for school meals. These grants are particularly important for schools that serve low-income communities, where access to healthy food options may be limited.
By applying for these grants, schools can receive the funding they need to improve the quality of their meals, increase the variety of healthy food options they offer, and enhance the overall dining experience for students.
What Schools Will Receive
Schools that receive Healthy Meals Incentives Grants can use the funding to purchase equipment and supplies necessary for preparing and serving nutritious meals, like commercial-grade kitchen equipment. Additionally, schools can use the funding to train foodservice staff on how to prepare healthy meals, develop menus that meet USDA nutrition standards, and implement best practices for food safety and sanitation.
A subscription to NutriStudents K-12 is an excellent way for schools to utilize the grant money. A NutriStudents K-12 subscription ticks the box when it comes to meeting USDA nutrition standards. A subscription provides schools with tools and resources to plan, prepare, and serve nutritious and appealing meals that are USDA compliant and student-approved when it comes to taste.
NutriStudents K-12 is an excellent solution for small and rural schools for several reasons:
1. Compliant menus: NutriStudents K-12 provides schools with compliant menu weeks that are USDA compliant. This is particularly important for small and rural schools that may have limited resources or face logistical challenges in sourcing ingredients. With NutriStudents K-12, the available menus consider student preferences while prioritizing commodities first.
2. Cost-effective: NutriStudents K-12 is a cost-effective solution for small and rural schools that may not have the budget to hire a full-time registered dietitian. For a low monthly fee, the program provides schools with access to 45 weeks of compliant menus that meet USDA guidelines and a team of professionals to offer support through USDA administrative reviews.
3. Training and support: NutriStudents K-12 provides training and support to school foodservice staff that helps staff to plan, prepare, market, and serve healthy meals. This is particularly important for small and rural schools where staff may have limited training or experience in menu planning and preparation.
4. Nutritious and appealing meals: NutriStudents K-12 menus are designed to be both nutritious and delicious to students. This is particularly important for small and rural schools that may have limited resources to invest in marketing or promotion of their meal programs. By providing menus that are appealing to students, schools can increase participation in their meal programs and promote healthy eating habits.
Overall, NutriStudents K-12 is a perfect solution for small and rural schools that are looking to improve the quality of their meal programs and meet USDA nutrition standards, while creating a culture of health and wellness in their cafeterias and promoting positive outcomes for students and their communities.
Impact of Healthy Meals Incentives Grants
The Healthy Meals Incentives Grants will have significant impact for both individual schools and the communities they serve. By improving the quality of school meals, schools can promote healthy eating habits among students, reduce the risk of childhood obesity and related health problems, and improve academic performance.
The Healthy Meals Incentives Grants are an important resource for small and rural school food authorities that are committed to providing nutritious meals to their students. By applying for these grants, schools can receive the funding they need to improve the quality of their meals, increase the variety of healthy food options they offer, and create positive health outcomes for their communities.
If you are a small or rural school food authority, we encourage you to consider applying for these grants and consider a subscription to NutriStudents K-12 to help your foodservice program put its best foot forward.
Don’t wait, the Grant Application Portal closes May 26, 2023, at 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Want to learn more about NutriStudents K-12? Schedule a quick 30-minute demo today to see the program in more detail.