Putnam Public Schools is committed to providing school environments that promote and protect children’s health, wellness and ability to learn by supporting behaviors that include healthy eating and physical activity.
“Wellness” is an interactive process of becoming aware of and practicing choices to create a healthy and balanced lifestyle, which includes but is not limited to nutrition, nutrition education, physical activity and physical education.
School wellness policies are an important tool for parents, local educational agencies and school districts to promote student wellness, prevent and reduce childhood obesity, and provide assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines meet the Federal school meal standards. Since the beginning of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-265), Putnam Public Schools has emphasized ongoing implementation and assessment of its “School Wellness Policy”
Putnam Awarded HeathierUS School Challenge (HUSSC)
Silver Award Level
A select group of only 5.5 percent of the nation’s eligible schools have earned an HUSSC distinction.
Putnam, Connecticut –The HealthierUS School Challenge awards are a way for the USDA to recognize schools that have created healthier school environments through improvements in the quality of school meals while providing both nutrition and physical education to promote healthy lifestyles. The HUSSC is a key component in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign and has also helped prepare schools to implement the meal pattern changes developed by the USDA for nation-wide implementation starting school year 2012-1013.
The USDA has awarded the winners for school year 2011-2012, which include awarding the Silver HealthierUS School Challenge Award Level to the following Putnam District: Putnam Elementary School, Putnam Middle School and Putnam High School: Less than 6 percent of the nation’s eligible schools have earned this distinction.
This recognition is the product of a yearlong effort between Putnam administration and staff which includes food service director Barry Sbordy, food service personnel, many additional school staff and the School Nutrition Association, which provides assistance and resources to assist individual school districts improve performance.
Achieving this award reiterates Putnam food service’s team commitment to promoting a healthy school environment for its students. Mr. Sbordy stated, “Putnam is honored to be the recipient of the Healthier US Schools Challenge silver award. The HUSSC criteria, is unique in that it focuses on a child’s complete wellness which includes healthy eating choices, nutrition education, and physical activity. Ultimately, the Program has resulted in greater student awareness and focus on healthier alternatives.”
In order to qualify for the Silver award, Putnam had to demonstrate the school meets all the HUSSC nutritional requirements on an on-going basis, serving a variety of healthier foods that appeal to the students, planning meals that emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products; and that include lean proteins and foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. Furthermore, the school was required to prove its compliance with nutrition education, wellness, and the physical activity criteria of the HUSSC according to age group.
The award ceremony took place at the Second Annual School Breakfast Summit in East Hartford on April 26th. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Regional Administrator, James Arena-DeRosa was on hand to present the HealthierUS awards, a commemorative plaque, HUSSC banners, and a check for $1,000.00 per awarded School to the school district.
For more details on the USDA’S HeathierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) visit: www.teamnutrition.usda.gov.
About the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut:
The School Nutrition Association of Connecticut (SNACT) is a proud affiliate of the national School Nutrition Association. The 500 members of the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut are School Food service Personnel who are committed to advancing good nutrition for all children, providing healthful meals and nutritional education since 1949. The School Nutrition Association is the only professional association dedicated solely to the support and well being of school nutrition professionals in advancing good nutrition for all children. Since 1946, SNA has been advancing the availability and quality of school nutrition programs as integral part of a student’s education. With its 52 affiliates, SNA is dedicated to your success and the success of your school district’s nutrition program and to the health and wellness of America’s school children. For more information, visit www.snact.org.
Smart Snacks in School
We are focused on the health of our school environment. Our school district has established nutrition standards for all snacks sold in school by any entity, including parent/student organizations, teachers, boosters, fundraisers, or the food and nutrition services department. These standards for snack sales are in effect from any time before school through 1/2 hour after school, in accordance with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, the USDA and our district Wellness Policy. Non-compliant foods may be sold from 1/2 hour after school through the end of the day. These standards carefully balance science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating on campus.
Healthy Snack Calculators
Is Your Snack a Smart Snack? Use the Smart Snacks Product Calculator, developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, to take the guesswork out of nutrition guidelines! Simply enter the product information, answer a few questions, and determine whether your snack, side or entree item meets the new USDA Smart Snacks in School Guidelines.
Kids often need snacks to help them get enough calories (ENERGY) throughout the day. Choosing healthy snacks that add nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, to their diets is essential. Smart snacking is a great way to meet daily nutrient requirements that may be missed at meal times.
Students in our district are offered healthier school meals with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. The Smart Snacks in School standards published by the USDA will build on those healthy advancements by ensuring that all other snack foods and beverages available for sale to students in school are tasty and nutritious.
Nutrition Standards for Foods
Any food sold in school must:
- Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product; or
- Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product or a protein food; or
- Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
- Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber)
Foods must also meet several nutrient requirements:
- Snack items: ≤ 200 calories
- Entrée items: ≤ 350 calories
- Snack items: ≤ 230 mg
- Entrée items: ≤ 480 mg
- Total fat: ≤ 35% of calories
- Saturated fat: ≤ 10% of calories
- Trans fat: zero grams
Sugar limit ≤ 35% of weight from total sugars in foods
Accompaniments such as cream cheese, salad dressing and butter must be included in the nutrient profile as part of the food item sold. This helps control the amount of calories, fat, sugar and sodium added to foods.
Nutrient Standards for Beverages
All schools may sell:
- Plain water (with or without carbonation)
- Unflavored low fat milk
- Unflavored or flavored fat free milk and milk alternatives permitted by NSLP/SBP
- 100% fruit or vegetable juice, and 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water (with or without carbonation) and no added sweeteners
Elementary schools may sell up to 8-ounce portions, while middle and high schools may sell up to 12-ounce portions of milk and juice. There is no portion size limit for plain water.
Beyond this, the standards allow additional “no calorie” and “lower calorie” beverage options for high school students.
- No more than 20-ounce portions of calorie-free, flavored water (with or without carbonation); and other flavored and/or carbonated beverages that are labeled to contain < 5 calories per 8 fluid ounces or ≤ 10 calories per 20 fluid ounces.
- No more than 12-ounce portions of beverage with ≤ 40 calories per 8 fluid ounces, or ≤ 60 calories per 12 fluid ounces. Healthy Fundraisers
- Food items that meet nutrition standards are not limited
- The standards do not apply during non-school hours, on weekends and at off-campus fundraising events
- The standards provide a special exemption for infrequent fundraisers that do not meet the nutrition standards. Each State agency is responsible for establishing the number of exempt fundraisers that may be held in schools each year.
There are plenty of fun ways to liven up snack time using healthy fruits, vegetables and cheeses. Kids will love creating and eating fun-to-make snacks with you in the kitchen! Click on the image to the right to watch a video to learn about some fun and healthy snack ideas that you can make with your kids in the kitchen.
Snacking Tips for Parents
- Plan ahead and buy healthy snacks when you shop. You will save money and make healthier choices than if you or your kids are buying snacks on the go.
- Provide kids with choices and make those choices nutritious.
- Pre-portion you child's snacks into small plastic bags to grab on the go.
- Combine snacks from at least two food groups to pack more nutrients into your child's diet... it will be more filling and it will hold them over to the next meal.
- And remember... space snacks far enough between meals so appetites are not spoiled!
Two Simple Steps to Delicious and Nutritious Snacks
Katie-Jeffery-Lunn, MS, RD, CDN, LDN
Healthy, Fun Snacks and Desserts for the Whole Family
Reyna Franco, MS, RD, CDN
Healthy, Tasty and Creative Snacks for Kids
Katie-Jeffery-Lunn, MS, RD, CDN, LDN