NJDA Food and Nutrition Director Rose Chamberlain visited school children to stress the importance of healthy school lunches. (photo provided)

USDA, state and local officials joined the New Jersey Department of Agriculture today to highlight school lunch with a visit to Oliver Street School in Newark to see and learn about the Newark Public School District’s student meal program.

Officials participated in lunchtime activities where students were presented with a menu that included beef sausages, whole wheat rolls, baked beans, corn, applesauce and liquid milk.

“The Newark Public School District provides an excellent example of how a high-quality school lunch program works,” said Rose Chamberlain, director of the NJDA’s Division of Food and Nutrition. “Having nutritious meals is essential for students to perform at their highest levels in the classroom as well as in extracurricular activities. These meals also form the foundation for healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.

The Newark Public School District is the largest school district in the state with 69 schools serving more than 22,000 meals in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. The district also participates in the Department of Defense (DOD) Direct Delivery Program, which brings fresh produce to Newark schools. During the 2022-23 school year, the district accepted $3.4 million in USDA food supplies, including more than $700,000 in fresh produce for the Department of Defense.

For the 2023-24 school year, the district is participating in the USDA Local School Food Grant, with an expected amount of more than $200,000 going toward purchasing locally grown food.

“We encourage our students to make healthy choices when they choose their lunches,” said Elier Pickett, interim director of food services at Newark. “It is important for them to understand that eating foods with high nutritional value can enhance their performance in the classroom and lead to a healthier lifestyle.”

New Jersey schools follow nutrition standards set by the USDA, which include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat and fat-free milk options, with restrictions on saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and fat. Calories.

“We applaud the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and Oliver Street School for providing nutritious meals to their students,” said Dr. Patty Bennett, USDA Food and Nutrition Services Director and Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. “USDA school meal programs provide essential nutrition to tens of millions of children every school day. Studies show that students’ success in the classroom is linked to their ability to obtain healthy, nutritious meals.

The National School Lunch Program serves approximately 30 million children daily across the United States. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers the program in the Garden State.

To learn more about the state’s school lunch program, visit https://bit.ly/3RWnGDv.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: