SLPS, New Heights recognized by USDA for serving healthy summer meals

Saint Louis Public Schools and New Heights Community Resource Center in Florissant were two of 81 institutions recognized by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service with a Gold or Silver award for providing healthy and appetizing summer meals in its Turnip the Beet awards.

SLPS and New Heights were two of three summer meal providers in Missouri recognized with a Silver award; none of the 15 Gold awardees is from Missouri. Children’s Mercy Kids Eat Free Program in Kansas City was the other Missouri. Another 37 institutions won Bronze awards.

“Turnip the Beet award winners are summer meal sponsors who are going above and beyond to ensure their meals are both nutritious and appetizing,” wrote Veniqua Stewart and Rachel Polon of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

“They showcased their excellence by serving a variety of vegetables and fruits throughout the week; serving whole grains and dairy products; and serving culturally-appropriate meals. Sponsors also conducted taste tests with the children (and incorporated the feedback into the menus); and offered nutrition education activities along with the meals.”

They cited some best practices by Gold award winners. Kids Unlimited from Medford, Oregon, offers culinary classes five days per week so participants can learn to cook a variety of foods from scratch; often, ingredients for the culinary classes come straight from the garden that the participants have planted and harvested. Michigan-based Waterford School District hosted “Two Bite Tuesdays” as well as regular taste tests during which participants would try new recipes, as well as foods from the site’s garden and the local farmers’ market.

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