This time of year we see and hear a lot about back-to-school shopping. Parents busily acquire the list of school supplies and prepare for another busy year. This year, one item that may need no action is packing a snack or buying snack tickets. I recently received a list of many schools that are going to receive the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program grant this school year (almost all area public elementary schools K-8 in fact).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service administers the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program at the national level and is administered through state departments of education. FFVP is an important catalyst for change in the effort to combat childhood obesity, by helping children learn about more healthful eating habits. The Program has been successful in introducing school children to a variety of fresh produce that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to sample.
I have seen the success of this program firsthand. Last year, in the schools I visited that received the nutrient-rich snacks, students had a better attitude toward and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables than the schools without the program. Parents are also relieved by this program. The snacks are provided at no cost, and they no longer have to find a nutritious snack that appeals to a child wanting cookies or chips. Every child is on the same playing field. Perception of what constitutes a nutritious snack can vary greatly from family to family too. How do you view a fruit rollup? The FFVP guideline is easy: Only fresh produce is allowed.
Thank you, school administrators, for applying for this grant. We, too, should be inspired to follow suit and choose more fruits and vegetables as snacks! To see the list of schools participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program or for more information, visit (www.fns.-usda.gov/cnd/FFVP). For variety, try one of my favorites - honeybee fruit salad! It's quick and easy and sure to please.
Honey Bee Fruit Salad
3 medium oranges, peeled and cut into pieces
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 pint berries (strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. honey
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Wash and prepare the fruit and place in a bowl. Heat the orange juice, honey and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Allow orange juice mixture to cool, then pour over fruit. If desired, sprinkle with 1/3 c. flaked coconut.
Makes eight servings.
Per serving: 110 calories, 0 grams (g) fat, 30 g carbohydrate and 3 g fiber.
Recipe courtesy of Utah State University Extension Service. More recipes can be found at (www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise).
(Trisha Jessen works in the Family Nutrition Program for the North?Dakota State University Extension Service. She can be reached by email at Trisha.Jessen@ndsu.edu.)