It's been a year since First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let's Move! on February 9, 2010, and chefs and schools have played a central role in efforts to end childhood obesity. Just this month, White House Chef Sam Kass and USDA Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton attended a Chefs Move to Schools event in Florida, where students, school nutrition managers, and volunteer chefs demonstrated new "chef-inspired, kid-approved" recipes that will debut in Orange County Public Schools cafeterias this year.

While we've seen great accomplishments, there is much more that can be done. Now is a great time to get energized and get moving.

5 Ways to Keep Things Moving
1.   Join us for a Chefs Move to Schools webinar on Thursday, February 24 at Noon- 1:00 PM EST. The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service invites you to participate in this free one-hour webinar to learn more about how chefs and schools are working together to help children make healthier food and beverage choices.

Features speakers will include:

  • Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives;
  • Janey Thornton, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services;
  • Timothy Cipriano, Chef and Executive Director of Food Services for New Haven Public Schools;
  • Lora Gilbert, Senior Director of Food & Nutrition Services for Orange County Public Schools; and
  • Rochelle Davis, President and CEO of the Healthy Schools Campaign.
  Sam Kass and Janey Thornton

Chef Sam Kass and Janey Thornton are featured speakers on the webinar.

    Space is limited to the first 1200 participants. Register today.
2.   Get matched. Now is the time to reach out and form a chef-school partnership and announce your match! To update your profile and share success stories, chefs, click here and schools, click here.
a)   Chefs: if you have not partnered with a school, please visit the Chefs Move to Schools map to identify a school interested in working with a chef in your area. If you need assistance in finding a school, please contact us:
b)   The Partnership for a Healthier America continues to offer free cooking demonstration kits to schools matched with chefs. Learn more about this donation opportunity and complete the application.
3.   Celebrate National School Breakfast Week, March 7 to 14. Help increase participation in school breakfast by conducting chef demos, creating themed breakfast menus, or organizing a few "Eat Breakfast with a Chef" events. Browse some additional breakfast promotion ideas and resources.
4.   Kick off your school's quest for a HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) award during National Nutrition Month®. This March, work with your school's wellness committee, the school cafeteria, and students to see if your school meets HUSSC criteria. Jumpstart the event by holding tasting events featuring new whole grain, vegetable or fruit items on the lunch menu. Read our HealthierUS Schools Challenge (HUSSC) Primer for Chefs for simple steps on how to get started, browse the HUSSC application kit, and review our online training and application materials.   Girl Enjoys School Lunch

5.   Get your tools ready for National Garden Month in April. Some chefs and schools have shared that they are now gearing up for the planting season by planning their school gardens and community greenhouses. Find some helpful resources on starting a school garden of your own. Visit the USDA Blog to see how some schools are getting kids excited about garden-fresh produce. The Food and Nutrition Service has a garden-themed nutrition education curriculum for preschool and kindergarten-age children—download free lessons from Grow It, Try It, Like It! and get children excited about fruits and vegetables.  
Want more ideas?
Join ChefTalk, our e-mail discussion group,
to discuss other ways chefs and schools are working together.

Let's Move! Updates
bullet American Culinary Federation (ACF) Partners with the USDA. The Child Nutrition Division of USDA's Food and Nutrition Service and the ACF have entered into a partnership agreement to recognize their mutual interests in improving the health of youth. Through the Recipes for Healthy Kids (R4HK) Competition and development and publication of youth-oriented recipes, the partnership will help promote healthier eating behaviors to school-age children, parents, community members and school nutrition professionals.   American Culinary Federation
bullet   Over 300 recipes were submitted for the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. By the December 30th deadline, school teams of chefs, students, school nutrition professionals and community members had developed, tasted and served their healthy recipes at their school, and submitted them in this competition to determine the best recipes in three categories (Whole Grains, Dark Green and Orange vegetables, or Dry Beans and Peas).
    Fifteen semi-finalist teams will have their recipe evaluated by our judging panel during events held at their school this Spring. Starting on March 1st, semi-finalists' recipes will also be posted for online voting by the public to determine a Popular Choice Winner.   Recipes for Healthy Kids
bullet   USDA Unveils Critical Upgrades to Nutritional Standards for School Meals. On January 13, USDA published a proposed rule to update the nutrition standards for meals served through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. The proposed changes include adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains; requiring fat-free and low-fat milk be offered in school meals; and limiting the levels of saturated fat, sodium, calories, and trans fats in meals. Review the proposed rule, and submit your comments to the USDA by April 13, 2011. Every comment received will be considered carefully in finalizing the rule before it is implemented.
bullet   2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans   USDA and HHS released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans on January 31. These science-based Guidelines form the basis of nutrition education provided through the Federal nutrition assistance programs, including the child nutrition programs. The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focus on balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains. More consumer-friendly advice and tools, including a next generation Food Pyramid, will be released by USDA and HHS in the coming months.

Below is a preview of some of the tips that will be provided to help consumers translate the Dietary Guidelines into their everyday lives:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Thank you for joining Let's Move! We look forward to hearing from you.

-Chefs Move to Schools Team